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New Waikato programme offers strength and balance classes for over 65s

Strong and Stable class in action
Improve your fitness. Increase your strength. Gain better balance. Have fun!

That’s the mantra of community classes for older people run in Waikato under the “Strong & Stable” programme.

It’s part of the nationwide Live stronger for longer initiative. The initiative has an excellent website which offers practical information and advice for older people and their supporters on how to minimise falls while living an active, independent life.

The aim is to encourage people over 65 to join community group strength and balance classes in their local area. The Waikato programme is coordinated by Steph McLennan and the Midland Community Pharmacy Group in partnership with Waikato District Health Board, ACC and the Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) in the region.

Not only do the classes help prevent falls, they also give older people the chance to have some fun and meet new people, or see if in-home support is appropriate.

Waikato’s Steph McLennan has 35 years’ experience training and assessing group exercise instructors in New Zealand and Australia and was the driving force behind the ACC-funded Upright and Active Falls Prevention Programme in the Waikato from 2002 to 2010.

She says the classes are designed for older adults who have a risk of falling or who have experienced falls in the past, to increase leg and core strength and improve balance.

“We started recruiting leaders and classes a year ago, and now we have numerous classes underway across Waikato – mainly in Hamilton, but also Cambridge, Tokoroa, Thames, Ngaruawhahia, Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Awamutu.

“By the end of June 2018 we hope to have group classes available in all areas of the Waikato,” she says.

  • Any older adult can attend sessions. There’s no need to register or book in – you can just turn up at a class.
  • Classes are low cost – all $2 to $5 per session.
  • Comfortable clothes that you can move in, and flat, comfortable shoes are all you need.
  • You can go at your own pace.
  • Seated and standing options.
  • Suitable for all levels.
  • Approved classes are led by trained leaders.
  • Class list with details on Live stronger for long website – Find a class near you / Waikato
  • Doctors, nurses, physios, pharmacists and other health professionals will also be referring older adults to the programme.

Live stronger for longer website: http://www.livestronger.org.nz/ 

April is Falls Awareness Month.

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