Exercising is fun for all ages

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Exercising is fun for all ages

April 9, 2019

In a novel way to combine exercise with fun, a new playground will shortly open at OCAV’s Leith Park village… for seniors.

The new seniors’ exercise park is being installed in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) with funding from Perpetual’s 2018 IMPACT Philanthropy Program and Gandel Philanthropy.

The playground includes several exercise stations tailored to older people.

“This is an exciting first step in a two-year research program which will determine whether older people get as much out of play as pre-schoolers in terms of physical and mental health,” OCAV’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Scott said.

Over one to two years, research participants will access the exercise park in a group and receive instruction from an exercise physiologist from NARI. Participants will also receive an initial assessment and their progress will be monitored by NARI.

Physiotherapists will train residents to use the equipment and be on hand for support when needed.

“What we are hoping is that the exercise park and program will begin to make sure all of our residents incorporate regular exercise into their lives,” Tim Scott said.

NARI Project leader Associate Professor Pazit Levinger said that findings from a past study revealed that participants improved muscle strength, balance, and physical function.

The trial, known as Enjoy, also hopes to show that senior outdoor parks help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Physical activity is strongly recommended for older people to reduce health problems, but less than 25% of older Australians do enough physical activity to achieve health benefit.

Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her by volunteering.

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