What activities are safe for seniors? Exercise Physiologist Chris Connolly says almost anything, as long as you have strong fundamentals.
“When you reach a certain age the conventional wisdom is to be very helpful — almost too helpful!” says Connolly who is an exercise specialist at Berwick Qualicum Beach. “There’s good rationale to being careful. But if loved-ones express too much fear you can start to question your own ability.”
Berwick Qualicum Beach residents are independent, and want to remain that way. So Connolly and his colleagues provide engaging programs and expert advice to keep residents strong.
“I educate through everything I do — here’s what we’re doing and why. Studies suggest that after age 30 we lose about 10 per cent of our muscle mass every decade, so we all have to make an effort to counter that in every way we can if we want to keep our functional capacity.”
Connolly says residents at Berwick Qualicum Beach are keen for a challenge, and love the opportunity to progress.
Cornerstones of senior fitness
Connolly incorporates balance training into most fitness programs at Berwick, along with strength conditioning, stretching, dynamic balance/agility and more. Strength and practice can improve your confidence, and that’s half the battle.
“If you’re feeling comfortable and feeling strong, you worry about your balance a lot less. Overthinking is part of the problem. Once we get residents moving I see right away that they’re walking taller and more confidently.”
Some residents use walking poles to improve balance confidence and posture. Having staff members close by is also a boost. Connolly recalls seeing a group of residents when they returned from a hike — not a stroll, a hike — with Berwick staff.
“They were just glowing! It’s so nice to see that they’re able to embrace that full-on living. And there’s no reason they shouldn’t.”
Berwick conducts a one-on-one fitness assessment with every resident, and Connolly pays close attention to hand strength.
“It’s one of the lowest common denominators of fitness. If hand strength fails then you have to give up all sorts of daily activities, which means you’re not building general strength and endurance.”
Connolly helped a 93-year-old golfer come back swinging after low hand strength forced her stop. Giving up golf would have meant giving up all the walking, strength training and joy that come along with the game, but hand strengthening got her back on the golf course.
“Sometimes I can suggest exercises, or recommend a visit to a doctor or physiotherapist and then we can work on the after care together.”
The specialists at Berwick Qualicum Beach can assess what’s possible, and facilitate residents’ goals in a fun, safe way.
Easter Egg Hunt
To inspire the community to get outside and get moving, Berwick Qualicum Beach will be hiding wooden Easter eggs along the Dollymount trail, which runs behind Kwalicum High School. Enjoy a walk this weekend and hunt for an egg to win a fabulous prize from Berwick Qualicum Beach!
Follow Berwick Qualicum Beach on Instagram for the latest updates from inside the active community. For more information about living at Berwick Qualicum Beach, contact Krysta Robins at 250-738-6200 or email bqb.marketingMGR@berwickrc.com.