Active Aging Canada launched our Mall Movers program two years ago, a stretch and strengthen class in enclosed malls followed by walking in the mall before the stores open. Eight malls participated in the free program over the two year period with a total of 225 registered Movers. Malls are a safe and barrier-free environment. Participants received TheraBands and exercise balls to augment their strength class. The older-adults-certified leaders incorporated balance and bone strengthening exercises into their weekly classes. Cumulatively, participants walked over 11,000 days, 32,500 kilometres and 1,845 recorded hours. This is a total distance of crossing Canada five times! The program was promoted in three languages based on the ethnic makeup of the mall location. There was no cost for the class. Health promotion material was regularly made available. Socialization was also an important component, and evaluations were always very positive. Walking is simple, requires minimal equipment, can be done anywhere, anytime, anyplace and is generally a safe activity. It is good for the heart, the head, lungs and legs!
Active Aging Canada
Many of the older adult programs that are popular in our centre are evidence-based medical exercise programs. They offer aspects of prevention and management of chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis and diabetes. As well, programs that help manage stress and pain is a growing trend in our facility, for example, Mindfulness-Based Stress Management (MBSR), Osteo-Circuit™ and Intro to Tai Chi. Partnering with local healthcare providers, such as diabetes nurse educators and physiotherapists, was extremely helpful in establishing credibility and increasing the number of referrals from other healthcare practitioners. Additionally, older-adultspecific classes have been an effective strategy for member retention because they provide opportunities for community engagement amongst peers.
Our older adult members are looking for comprehensive programs and services that embody the whole person. They come for education, physical fitness and for social connection. Older adult members want to feel empowered by proactively managing their health and wellness, and they want us to become a trusted partner in making aging a positive experience.
manager of fitness and wellness
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre
Vintage Fitness specializes in training people who are 50+. We have 11 trainers on our team and cover the GTA, so we have a broad range of clients from competitive athletes to frail older adults. One commonality amongst clients is that they love when we change their routines and explain how new exercises will bring them closer to their fitness goals. Many of our older clients like to do balance training on balance pads to help to reduce their fear of falls and assisted stretching is a favourite. We do quite a bit of work with the balance pad using various balance assessments such as the BERG Balance Scale as well as standing birddog, quarter squats and balance challenges with feet together, head turns and eyes closed. Assisted stretches including hamstring, piriformus (figure 4 stretch) and inner and outer thigh stretches using a strap.