It can be hard to stay active – particularly in the post-pandemic times, after staying indoors for so long. But exercise is great both for physical and mental health, and even though mobility can be reduced as we age, exercising is just as important for elders as it is for our youth.
The team at the Kanesatake Health Center (KHC) has been operating an exercise class for elders since the beginning of summer and are set to continue for the foreseeable future. With four spots open for new participants, community health representative Michelle Béland is keen to share more about the benefits of staying active.
“I can see how an exercise class could be intimidating to some people. However, this is a very friendly, relaxing, and safe environment,” Béland said. “If you’re too shy to come alone, why not bring a friend!”
Exercises are specifically designed with elders in mind, with the class only being open to those aged 55 and older. Many of the exercises are seated, focusing on arm movements, and gentle leg movements that aren’t too harsh on joints.
“They can expect to have a lot of fun, and learn about how to correctly use their body and therefore prevent injuries,” Béland said, adding that each class is followed by a question and answer session for anyone who’d like more clarification.
For many, getting older and having reduced mobility can mean that it’s harder to get out of the house and socialize, so group exercise classes are also a way to decrease loneliness and see old friends.
Béland said that these benefits had already been seen at a previous exercise activity that took place at Riverside Elder’s Home pre-pandemic, which these classes are modelled after.
“It was very popular at the time and people had been requesting the activity to restart. The goal was to bring people together, and give them the opportunity to move, improve their mobility, reduce the risk of falling, and get the chance to learn more about their health and bodies,” she said.
Classes are led by Simon-Pier Dubois, a certified trainer and kinesiologist from Kanehsatake CrossFit, who partnered with KHC for the classes.
“He has worked with elderly people before, and has a lot of knowledge that makes his workouts very efficient and safe for all participants,” Béland said. “All his workouts can be adapted to the needs of each person. They are accessible to all, regardless of everyone’s limitations.”
Classes will continue to take place Mondays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the new community building. No equipment is needed, and community members can register by calling 450-479-6000 ext. 292 or 238.
Eve Cable, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door