Brock University is enhancing its exercise programming for older adults and offering subsidized community memberships thanks to a grant received from the Government of Ontario and the ongoing support of TD Bank Group (TD).
The Brock Functional Inclusive Training (Bfit) Centre aims to improve the health and quality of life of older adults, cardiac patients and individuals living with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amputations and Parkinson’s disease.
The centre’s SeniorFit program is supported by TD through the Ready Commitment and offers supervised in-person and online instruction to help individuals 55 years of age and older improve balance, strength and endurance.
Thanks to a $24,982 Seniors Community Grant received from the Government of Ontario this past June, more seniors will be able to access SeniorFit classes. Funds are being used to expand online exercise programming by purchasing livestreaming equipment and employing 10 new instructors to lead virtual classes for seniors.
Along with a donation from TD, the grant will provide support to community members who require financial assistance in purchasing an online SeniorFit membership.
“Brock University’s SeniorFit classes are so important for seniors. They will help more seniors stay fit, active, healthy and socially connected,” said Raymond Cho, Ontario’s Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.
The program’s expansion is expected to start this month and will include a variety of classes, such as yoga, strength and cardio circuits, core and balance, and stretch and mobility.
Most instructors are Brock students who are studying kinesiology, health sciences or physical education and have a background in human anatomy or physiology. Others are professionals in health sciences, such as a registered kinesiologist and a personal support worker. All are trained by Bfit Co-ordinator Mackenzie Regnerus, who is a registered kinesiologist, under the leadership of Brock Kinesiology Professor Kimberley Gammage.
The interactive, supervised group exercise classes combined with the high-quality instructors is what differentiates SeniorFit classes from recorded videos offered online, said Regnerus.
“Instructors are trained to be inclusive of mobility and health requirements or limitations, and to modify and adapt exercise programs to suit older adults’ needs and health situations, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, joint replacement, arthritis, osteoporosis, or knee, shoulder and hip injuries,” she said. “Instructors often explain why exercises are beneficial to members and how the movements can help support them in daily life.”
Regnerus said live group exercise classes also offer older adults social benefits.
“Members see familiar faces every week and get to know each other,” she said. “They share stories of their grandchildren and what they did on the weekend. Not only are they building strength and resilience, but they’re also building community.”
Sam Oosterhoff, Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West applauds Brock University for expanding SeniorFit programming in Niagara and supporting older adults across the region.
“Seniors Community Grants help seniors stay safe, fit, active, healthy and socially connected in their community and close to home,” he said.
Anyone over 55 years of age is invited to register for a SeniorFit Online membership, which is $30 per month and offers unlimited access to online exercise classes. Members are required to fill out intake forms so instructors can better support individual needs and goals.
SeniorFit classes are also available in person through a traditional SeniorFit membership, which also includes unlimited access to SeniorFit Online classes.
Other programs taking place at the Brock Functional Inclusive Training Centre, located inside the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre, include Heart Strong, an exercise program for individuals living with cardiovascular diseases, and Power Cord, a wheelchair-accessible exercise program that supports people living with spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Those interested in applying for a SeniorFit Online membership subsidy are asked to contact Mackenzie Regnerus at email@example.com or 905-688-5550 x5589.
For more information, visit the Brock Functional Inclusive Training Centre website.