This January, an innovative program that motivates seniors to get up, get out, and get active is coming to Greater Vernon Recreation Services and it will be free to join.
Choose to Move is a six-month program based on scientific research that motivates and supports individuals 65 or older to get moving and meet new people in the community.
Based on research from University of British Columbia’s Active Aging Research Team, Choose to Move is designed to help seniors to set and meet their physical activity goals. The researchers behind the program observed that while most British Columbian seniors were struggling to meet the recommended amount of weekly physical activity, few programs were actually helping in a sustainable way.
“One reason why this program seems to work is that it is choice-based. This means that participants set goals and choose activities that are of interest to them to help them achieve their goals,” said Christa Hoy, one of the researchers. “With the support of their activity coach and peers, participants add more physical activity into their daily lives, which makes it easier to continue being active once the program is finished.”
Choose to Move is designed for people who are not currently active, but want get moving. Participants work one-on-one with an activity coach to develop a personal plan that fits with their preferences and lifestyle. For the first three months, participants meet with their activity coach for guidance and will connect at least once a month with their peers and coach for support.
“Choose to Move is different from other fitness programs. Participants have a choice about how they want to be active, and the support to make it happen,” said Deb Treherne at Recreation Services.
It is not a fitness class, so participants don’t have to go to the gym. Instead, they choose activities they like to do.
Choose to Move is offered through the BC Recreation and Parks Association and the YMCA with the support of UBC’s Active Aging Research Team led by doctors Heather McKay and Joanie Sims-Gould. The researchers will monitor Choose to Move across the province and evaluate its impact on health, mobility, and social connectedness of older adults.
In fact, early evaluation of Choose to Move revealed that many participants echoed Hoy’s words.
“Choose to Move has been beneficial for me, particularly because of its flexibility. My activity levels have increased and my days are busier. I love that. I have more choices so I am choosing to move,” said a past participant.
So far, Choose to Move has run in 28 communities across British Columbia. It is available at Greater Vernon Recreation, beginning in January with an information session on Wed. Jan 9. To register, visit www.gvrec.ca, or for more info call Deb Treherne at 250-550-3672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.