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ActiveVoice: Let's get physical no matter your age!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Twelve months in to the Sport Bay of Plenty’s Keep on your Feet seniors’ initiative and the results speak for themselves ...

Over 940 people aged over 65 have already attended one of the 42 classes offered across the eastern and western regions.

That’s 940 seniors in our community who have found better balance and can tackle those stairs with much more ease, or who are now less nervous stepping over a puddle or climbing out of the bath. It’s also 940 people that have improved their strength and can now pick up their grandkids or climb out of a car with ease.

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It’s easy to take our strength and balance for granted, but as we age we risk losing it if we don’t use it. Each year one in three people aged 65 and over will fall, and the risk increases to one in two for those aged over 80. Unfortunately falls are also one of the most common and costly causes of injury in seniors. There’s good news, though – a 2012 study showed group exercise programmes that focus on strength and balance can reduce falls by 29 per cent.

The Keep on Your Feet initiative is part of a nationwide effort by ACC to help reduce falls and fractures, and help seniors live stronger for longer. Accredited instructors ensure a fun and supportive environment that shows seniors they’re never too old to be active and get the most out of life.

The classes incorporate everything from basic functional exercises, to Tai Chi, yoga or group games. To date, 87 per cent of participants have reported increased confidence in movement, and 94 per cent say their strength and balance has improved since starting the classes. The Keep on Your Feet initiative is also helping to break down the social isolation often faced by seniors by bringing people together on a regular basis.

So here’s to the next 12 months and getting more seniors more active, more often.

To learn more about classes offered through the Keep on Your Feet initiative, visit sportbop.co.nz/keep-on-your-feet to find out more, or livestronger.org.nz to find similar nationwide initiatives.

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