With hearts beating faster and the participants breathing a bit deeper, instructor Krista Shields encourages the group to take a drink and enjoy a short break while she explains the next movement. She gets them in the proper position, starts the new exercise and encouragingly counts each repetition…. 4 you are doing great, 5 don’t forget to breathe, 6 we are half way there. As she hits seven, someone in the back yells over top of her voice 11 to which the entire group breaks out into laughter but continues to do the exercise from 7 to get their full set of 12 repetitions in.
Alvin Bernard, was the back row “counter” and is one of approximately twenty participants in the Kensington Chairfit program that takes place twice a week at the Kensington Fitplex. “We have lots of fun and laughs and yes I do enjoy carrying on a little bit” says Bernard. “I really enjoy participating in the class because it helps keep my whole body flexible and I also feel so much better after the class is done. It’s incredible how many different exercises you can do from a chair.”
Norma Pasatieri is another participant in the program designed to allow adults and older adults to increase their strength, flexibility and endurance through chair exercises in a fun social setting. “I think when people hear we are working out on chairs, they think it’s not a great workout but we quickly discovered after trying it that we really do get a very good workout.” Norma was drawn to the program to increase her mobility through some light exercises and the fact that it was chair exercises was good because she was dealing with some knee troubles.
Linus Ward, shares a similar story of how he is dealing with some serious back problems and the setup of the program allows him to participate in a way that makes sense to him. He needs to be careful with the twisting movements but certainly uses the other activities to improve his strength and maintain the flexibility he has. As a new resident of the Kensington area it also provides a great social outlet, which was a point shared by all the members in the program.
The program was developed through a partnership between the Central Region Sport and Recreation Council (CRSRC), go!PEI and the Kensington Fitplex. The program takes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at present is offered at no cost to the participants. “Having Krista as the instructor is one of the main keys to the program because of her professionalism and her great relationship with all the participants,” says Josh Whitty, the Executive Director of the CRSRC. “The participants marvel at the different exercises she gets them to do from a chair.”
Also, the Fitplex is part of the go!PEI Let’s Walk Campaign and offers free access to the indoor walking track during the day which many of the participants take advantage of as a warm up before the program and also use on days the program isn’t offered.
“go!PEI placed a priority on older adult programming over the past year and the program in Kensington is a great example of how through community partnerships we can provide opportunities for older adults to maintain their fitness and mobility as they age in a fun and safe environment,” stated Olivia Ford, go!PEI’s Provincial Coordinator. “It’s great to see so many of these types of programs taking off in communities all across PEI and the physical and mental health benefits the participants are receiving.”
When asked about what happens if he can’t attend or if there are cancellations due to weather, Bernard answered “I try and do this stuff at home but it’s just not the same without the group and Krista encouraging us. I hope this never ends.”
go!PEI is a community-based healthy living program that offers free
physical activity and healthy eating programs for Islanders across PEI.
go!PEI is designed around providing information and supports to assist
all Islanders to make simple changes to their lifestyle to improve
their overall health and quality of
Challenging Islanders from tip to tip to get active, have fun & win some great prizes!
Take the go!Outdoors challenge to get more time outdoors this June. We have great prizes to be won!
Contact go!PEI for more details.