P.E.I. getting more certified senior fitness instructors

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Seniors are keeping fit and healthy through programs offered at Credit Union Place. Alana Penton, left, Thelma Moase, Linda Szekeres and Pat Goodwin, take part in yoga classes at the CUP. Summerside has been accepted as a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities

In 2015, go!PEI had the goal of increasing its low-cost, physical activity programming options aimed at getting older adults, all across the Island, more active and healthier.

A recently attained New Horizons Grant is allowing the organization to work with the Canadian Centre of Activity and Aging (CCAA) to get a group of 16 Islanders certified as senior fitness instructors.

The certification is recognized by the International Coalition for Aging and Physical Activity (ICAPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and enables fitness and health leaders to work with individuals that have a variety of special conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.

“It’s very important for us to be able to bring these types of training opportunities to P.E.I. (Islanders) have many physical activity groups working with the aging population and it’s important for those groups to have the proper training and skills to enable a safe and knowledgeable environment,” says Olivia Ford, go!PEI provincial co-ordinator. “The training we’re providing will enhance our low-cost go!PEI programs and the overall health and quality-of-life for Island seniors.”

The CCAA was initially brought to the Island to work with go!PEI on a Balls, Bands and Balance workshop in Charlottetown in 2014.

“The feedback we received from that workshop was very positive and the participants encouraged us to continue working with CCAA to provide them certified training opportunities,” said Ford. “However, the most important piece of feedback we heard was that the health and fitness professionals didn’t feel comfortable creating an exercise program for older adults so we realized that a stronger certification was needed.”

There are currently 16 individuals from all across P.E.I. completing the 36-hour senior fitness instructors training.

By the end of November these community fitness leaders will have the tools to deliver more programming at a certified level across the island.

Ford said she’s already heard great feedback from the group in training.

Many of them feel much more comfortable in their own abilities and a few of them want to continue the training further, which go!PEI plans to do.

“These older adult programs will continue to be built upon with target populations in the fitness industry as well as long term care facilities and manors. In fact, we are currently working with Beach Grove Home in Charlottetown on a pilot project designed for their residents.”

Organizations: CCAA, Islanders, Canadian Centre International Coalition for Aging World Health Organization (WHO)

Geographic location: Iceland, Charlottetown

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