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ActiveVoice: Helping older adults find their feet

Monday, May 21, 2018

KOYF Whakatane (6)

You’re never too old to challenge yourself – in fact, challenging your mind and body is a great way to stay fit and active throughout the golden years.

Old age is inevitable, but limiting the activities we enjoy should not be. Sadly, studies show that 20% of elderly people restrict their activities due to a fear of falling. Living in an adventure paradise such as the Bay of Plenty, you shouldn’t let a decline in strength and balance prevent you enjoying our beautiful bush walks, gentle bike trails and strolls along our stunning beaches.

At Sport Bay of Plenty, we love encouraging people of all ages to enjoy including more fitness in their lifestyles. It’s very exciting therefore being chosen to lead the Keep on your Feet falls prevention programme in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Keep on your Feet (KOYF) is specifically for older adults (aged 65+) and involves participants attending weekly community group strength and balance classes. It is part of a nationwide initiative by ACC to reduce falls and fractures, and support older people to live stronger for longer.

Sport Bay of Plenty started working on this programme last June and already offers 35 approved weekly classes throughout the region. The rapid growth proves its popularity among those participants that have seized the challenge to keep on their feet!

Feedback received shows what a positive effect attending classes is having on participants lifestyles – a great example is Trisha Web, who attends our Greerton class: “I’ve noticed I can hop in and out of chairs at home a lot easier, and now focus ahead when walking rather than looking down. Plus I recently walked up Mauao which was a big achievement for me!”

It’s not just the physical benefits either, and although this is often why people initially attend, soon the social interaction side of classes is what keeps them coming back.

In addition to medical professionals, such as local doctors and various hospital groups, Sport Bay of Plenty is working with specialist groups such as St John to spread the word. The St John Medical Alarm service provides customers with New Zealand’s only emergency calling device monitored directly by St John.

Call-outs for fall related injuries are all too common, so Keep on your Feet is something they now recommend to many of their customers.

Classes are suitable for men and women of all fitness and mobility levels. To learn more, speak to your local doctor or nurse for a referral.

Alternatively, for those in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty regions, simply click this link to find a class near you: www.sportbop.co.nz/keep-on-your-feet/

For everywhere else, you can find out more here: www.livestronger.org.nz

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