Find a new lease on your fitness life
6 March 2019

Find a new lease on your fitness life

Council’s new Outfit Program is teaching older people how to safely and effectively use outdoor fitness parks.

There are many positive things that come with age, but as you get older there can be an unwelcome birthday surprise; small changes to your body and fitness.

Ailments can come in thick and fast, agility starts to be impacted, balancing on one leg – if not out of the question – is as wobbly as jelly, and some previously easy daily tasks can become more challenging.

The good news is you can easily take control of your health and fitness through the City of Onkaparinga’s Outfit Program.

While you might not be able to run, jump and lift like you could in your twenties (or perhaps you can), there are plenty of exercises you can do at the fitness parks located throughout the council area (you know, those places with bars, benches and equipment that you may have walked past but never dared to use).

To help you jump over the psychological hurdle of getting into (or back into) fitness, or simply trying something new, the council is offering free group exercise sessions for older residents at three local outdoor fitness parks.

The sessions will be run by a personal trainer who will guide you on how to safely and effectively use the equipment.

Starting in March, there will be one session per week over four weeks at the Aberfoyle Park, Port Noarlunga and Aldinga Beach parks. Each fitness park has multiple stations which are designed to help improve strength, joint movements, balance, flexibility and mobility.

Flagstaff Hill resident Vinetta, who regularly walks to keep fit and nimble, says the group aspect of the sessions is most appealing.

“It’s important to keep fit as you get older and doing activities with others helps keep you motivated and accountable,” she says.

Research shows that the health benefits associated with increased levels of physical activity are wide-ranging including lower incidence of hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, degenerative arthritis, colonic cancer and diabetes mellitus, and improved memory function1.

Exercising outdoors has also shown to improve mood and self-esteem in older people2.

But improving fitness is just one of the benefits says City of Onkaparinga’s Coordinator Social Connections, Lisa Elder.

“This initiative not only gets people active, it builds their confidence and helps create strong social networks within the community,” Lisa says.

“Our goal is to empower people to continue exercising, or be part of other social activities outside of the program.

“Using outdoor fitness parks is the perfect way to improve mental and physical health in a fun and supportive, but physically challenging environment.”

The initiative is part of council’s Social Connections program with support from Healthy Active Lifestyles Onkaparinga (HALO) and funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Health.

The sessions begin on Monday 18 March at Minkarra Park, Aberfoyle Park; Wednesday 20 March at the Esplanade (next to the RSL), Port Noarlunga; and Friday 22 March at the Esplanade (at the end of Butterworth Road), Aldinga Beach.

Bookings are essential, with limited spaces available per session.

To find your fitness tribe and get moving, call council’s Social Connections program on 8301 7232.

 

References

  1. Pate, R.R., Pratt, M., et al. (1995), Physical activity and public health: A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine
  2. Thompson Coon, J., Boddy K., Stein K., Whear R., Barton, J. and Depledge M.H (2011), Does participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review, Environmental, Science and Technology journal, 45 (5), pp 1761–1772

Get active outdoors

Resident Vinetta working through a range of exercises and stretches under the watchful eye of trainer, Nicola, at Minkarra Park in Aberfoyle Park.

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