Media releases

  • Brock virtual panel to offer exercise advice for seniors during pandemic

    MEDIA RELEASE: 22 February 2021 – R0024

    Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy, especially as we age. To help older adults find ways to safely exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic, Brock University is hosting a free public talk focused on the benefits of being active.

    Brock’s Lifespan Development Research Institute and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences have partnered to host Exercise and Older Adults — Staying Healthy as We Age, on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. via Lifesize.

    Department of Kinesiology Professor Kimberley Gammage and a panel of student researchers will use their work to explain practical issues of offering online exercise geared to older adults and evidence-based recommendations for meeting physical activity guidelines.

    “We’ve had to get a bit more creative during these pandemic lockdowns to keep older adults active,” says Gammage. “It’s more important than ever to be active for the physical, psychological and social benefits. This panel will provide practical advice alongside research findings that have been ongoing since July 2020.”

    As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged last March, the team at the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being, where Gammage is Director of the SeniorFit Program, needed to figure out quickly how to offer programming online in a way that provides members with the best experience possible.

    In trying to determine the way forward, Applied Health Sciences graduate students were enlisted to conduct research into what, if any, online exercise programs were geared to older adults, whether there were barriers to accessing programs, and what Centre members’ perceptions were of online exercise offerings.

    Panelists Matthieu Dagenais (BSc ’16), a PhD student in Behavioural and Population Health, and Olivia Parker (BKin ’20), a Master of Science student in Kinesiology, will present their respective findings of these research projects.

    “Both Matthieu and Olivia have worked in the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being and have long histories of being involved with exercise programming for older adults and teaching fitness classes,” says Gammage. “When we were trying to figure out the dos and don’ts we may encounter while pivoting online, we were basically starting from ground zero with little information. Their research has helped us to focus our scope and we’ll be able to make specific recommendations for practitioners in the future.”

    Research findings suggest at the onset of the pandemic there were only nine studies of online exercise programs geared towards older adults.

    “The scoping review Olivia conducted demonstrates there is not a lot out there online and not necessarily geared to older adults,” says Gammage. “The assumption is that this age group is either not interested, able, willing or does not have technical capacity to participate.”

    While many older adults have reported transportation barriers and feelings of discomfort exercising in environments with others or participating in in-person social programming, online programming can offer a convenient alternative.

    The preliminary research findings from Dagenais’s study, which included interviews with Centre members who participated and those who did not about their perceptions of accessing online programming, is helping to identify what is working and how to make improvements.

    “At the start, there was a lot of focus on the technology piece, but we’ve also learned individuals need to have the capacity to deliver this type of programming,” says Gammage. “I’ve taught fitness for 30 years and teaching it online is very different. We need to have people who can teach in these new formats while ensuring the safety of the older adult participants doing the exercises.”

    Transitioning to and expanding online exercise programming provides a whole new opportunity for older adults and those with barriers to getting active to become involved in an environment they are comfortable in. It also provides gyms with new ways to engage with prospective members.

    To learn more about the importance and benefits of exercise for older adults, research on exercise in older adults — especially at home and during COVID — and tips to safely exercise while aging, please register for the online event.

    The webinar is free and open to the public, but early registration is required to gain access. RSVP online and instructions for joining the event will be provided.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca or 905-347-1970 

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock alumnus pairs junk food with wine in latest online tasting event

    MEDIA RELEASE: 19 February 2021 – R0023

    Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) is adding to its roster of virtual wine tastings with a new event where guests can sample local wines and tasty junk food pairings.

    The virtual tasting will feature Brock alumnus Mitchell McCurdy (BSc ’18), Winemaker at Marynissen Estates Winery, on Saturday, March 20.

    “It’s exciting to be a part of an educational virtual tasting like this and the simplicity and comfort of junk food makes this so approachable and accessible,” McCurdy says.

    Registered guests will be shipped three bottles of Marynissen Estates wines, along with junk food pairings, tasting notes and instructions on how to prepare for the tasting. Each bottle can pour up to four glasses, allowing guests to share their virtual experience with up to three additional people within their household or social bubble. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, participants are asked to please follow the COVID-19 public health guidelines currently in place in their region when planning their evening.

    On the night of the event, McCurdy will virtually guide the attendees through a tasting of each of the wines and the accompanying pairings.

    CCOVI Outreach Manager Barb Tatarnic says these online tastings provide an opportunity to safely experience all that the Niagara wine industry has to offer while also connecting guests with others who share their passion for local wine.

    “We’re proud to bring our alumni winemakers and the community together to share these unique learning opportunities that are also a whole lot of fun,” she says. “What could be better than a junk food pairing on a Saturday night?”

    This event, and all other outreach events hosted by CCOVI, also strengthen connections with the Institute’s growing network of alumni and fulfil its mandate to engage with and support the local grape and wine industry and broader community.

    “I’m really happy that CCOVI reached out,” McCurdy says. “They have been incredibly supportive since I first set foot in the industry and continue to impress me with their dedication to promoting Ontario VQA wine and educating consumers to the quality that Niagara produces.”

    The tasting event is open to all Ontario residents over the age of 19 and will take place virtually on Saturday, March 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Each wine tasting kit is $99 plus HST (shipping included).

    Spaces for the event are limited and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until Monday, March 8.

    Registration can be completed online here.

    CCOVI plans to continue to host other similar virtual wine tasting experiences in the future. For more information, watch CCOVI’s website, follow CCOVI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email ccovi@brocku.ca to be placed on the email list for future notifications.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases