'It gives me strength and vitality,' hybrid program helps seniors stay fit amidst pandemic
LONDON, ONT -- Finding the motivation to exercise during a pandemic can be challenging at best, but it can be an even larger leap for seniors.
Advanced Medical Group in London has created a ReJuv program to help seniors feel comfortable getting their bodies moving, with medical supervision.
“When we do the cardio we wear a monitor which is wonderful because you know somebody is supervising you, because we’re not spring chickens anymore,’ says 74-year-old Gerrie Sweeney, who comes to ReJuv with her husband Jim.
Registered kinesiologist Spencer Raposo has been working with a senior couple for nearly two months.
Raposo says Sweeney suffers with a shoulder injury that can make traditional movements challenging.
“Thats why we always try to modify the exercise to the person’s injury so they feel more comfortable and confident.”
The main reason seniors shy away from fitness centres is lack of confidence.
“They’re scared to join classes or to do things because they feel like they cant do it like they used to or they’re embarrassed about their bad knee or bad shoulder.’
According to the Canadian physical activities guidelines, adults 65-years-old or older need 150-minutes of vigorous to moderate exercise a week.
When the pandemic first hit Sweeney says she ‘wasn’t doing anything’ now she gets nearly 200-minutes of activity apart from her daily strolls.
She visits the centre three times a week for a session involving resistance and strength training, cardio or aerobics and always wears a mask.
Sweeney also gets her blood pressure taken as she arrives to the centre and her health is monitored throughout.
She says the fitness classes have changed her daily life and have even made tasks like walking up the stairs easier.
“Coming up from the basement, there’s about 9 steps, I’d be short out of breath by the time I got to the top and now it doesn’t bother me. It’s given me the strength and the vitality to keep going.”
Raposo says the gym does not exceed ten people at a time, everyone is required to wear a face mask and the equipment is cleaned vigorously.
He says the most gratifying part of his job is seeing people overcome their fears when it comes to fitness.
“You can definitely see their mood improve and they’re just really happy to be here and get out of the house, they’re able to do more than they think and that is something I like to push with them.”