Seniors in the Vernon area can soon benefit their health by getting their move on.
This September, a free program is returning to Greater Vernon Recreation Services which motivates seniors to get up, get out and get active.
The Choose to Move is a program based on scientific research that motivates and supports individuals 65 or older to exercise while meeting new people.
Choose to Move is backed by research from the University of British Columbia’s Active Aging Research Team, and it’s designed to help seniors set and meet their physical activity goals. The researchers found that while most B.C. seniors struggle to meet the recommended amount of weekly exercise, few programs exist to help seniors 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,” explained researcher Christa Hoy. “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.”
The program is aimed at people who are not currently active but want to get moving. Participants will work one-on-one with an activity coach to develop a plan that suits their lifestyle.
“Choose to Move is a great program! With the assistance of an activity coach it enables seniors to find ways to get started and stay active,” said Deb Treherne, Recreation Programmer. “It is not a fitness class, so participants don’t have to go to the gym. Instead they choose activities they like to do.”
The program is offered through the BC Recreation and Parks Association and the YMCA, with the support of UBC’s Active Aging Research Team led by Drs. 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.
“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 one past participant.
To date, Choose to Move has enhanced the health of more than 5,000 seniors across the province. The program is available at Greater Vernon Recreation Services starting Thursday, Sept. 8 with an info session.