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Australia launches national program to keep elderly fit and active

20th March 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Australia has launched a national program called Move for Life and the scheme is currently being rolled out across gymnastic and fitness centres across the country.

As part of the new initiative, gymnastic centres will partner with aged care facilities to help the elderly keep fit and active.

The Move for Life scheme has been rolled out after 84-year-old Doreen Wilson, who is a former sports teacher, took gymnastic classes in her local community.

Speaking to News.com.au, Ms Wilson, the program’s ambassador, explained all the benefits to people over the age of 55 who take up gymnastics.

She said, “The men tend to say I feel more alert and ready for the day.

“Maybe you'll get to the stage where you think, 'Oh my gosh, I have to sit down to pull up my pantyhose or my jeans'.

“They say, 'Hey Doreen, I pulled up my jeans today without any trouble standing'.

“So those are the really beautiful things that happen.”

Gymnastics is not just for elite athletes

Kate Wadkin, who is the Gymnastics Queensland development manager, is hoping the program will make people realise the sport is not just for elite athletes or the younger generation, but for people of all ages.

She added, “Really at its foundation gymnastics is all about fundamental movement.”

The classes are low impact and concentrate on improving strength, mobility, co-ordination, flexibility, agility, posture and balance, meaning people who struggle to get around and need mobility aids like walk in showers for the home can improve their physical condition by going to these classes.

Ms Wilson revealed that despite her age, she will continue to participate in gymnastics and told people to just go for it.

She said, “You're in charge of your body and brain and you can do it, so go for it.”