Almost 1500 older adults participate in strength training and hydrotherapy programs every week at Caulfield Community Health Service (CCHS).
Clint Wilkie oversees these programs as Team Leader for Population Health at CCHS. He said people are living longer, healthier lives, and functioning at a high level into their 80s and 90s – making strength training all the more important.
“A lot of recent research has illustrated the benefits of strength training for physical health, along with helping to improve or prevent chronic illness, disease and cognitive decline.
“We have exercise physiologists who can design programs tailored to the individual and make it more effective,” said Mr Wilkie.
Margaret Davis has been attending classes for fourteen years and notices the benefits to her health and fitness.
“I have never done a lot of sport and I needed a routine. I have enjoyed it a huge amount, I value it greatly and I value the friendships,” said Ms Davis.” And the staff are really great to get along with.”
Disha Doshi, Physical Activity Co-ordinator, said there’s exercise options for all levels.
“We have class options that range from close supervision by an exercise physiologist, to more independent classes where participants work on their own prescribed program at their own pace in a supervised environment,” said Ms Doshi.
Dwight Kronemberg, Hydrotherapy Allied Health Assistant, said many older adults started attending classes because of an injury but continue to come for the health benefits and friendship groups.
“In the water you can perform exercises that you can’t do on land. Our hydrotherapy pool is run at 34 degrees, which soothes muscles and joints and helps participants comfortably do their exercises,” said Mr Kronemberg.
Halina Leitch has attended strength training classes for more than six years, and said she’s enjoyed making new friends.
“Coming here is a huge motivation and rather than being on your own you meet people, discuss, and connect and socialise and be healthy at the same time.”
Journalist Hanna Baum is a participant of both strength and hydrotherapy programs.
Ms Baum recently interviewed fellow participants and staff about the benefits. You can listen to the panel discussion here.