MEDICINE HAT, AB — Staying active is an important part of our everyday lives, but it’s especially important for the aging population.
According to Alberta Health Services, about 50 per cent of people older than 80 will be brought to a hospital because of a fall.
Monday marks the beginning of Seniors Week and AHS is helping show seniors different ways to stay active.
A demonstration on urban poling was held at the Strathcona Centre Monday morning.
“Urban poling or Nordic walking is simply walking with poles,” said community resource worker Gregg Campbell. “[It’s] just a way to get outside, walk, use a little bit more of your muscles.”
Urban poling mixes walking and cross country skiing, helping build balance and strength.
“It keeps your heart active,” said Maureen Moss. “It keeps your body and your legs and your arms active as well.”
Moss organizes walks from the Strathcona Centre three times a week, helping other seniors get out and about.
“Everybody has their own pace to walk,” she said. “Lots of times if someone walks slower, someone will walk with them so they’re never alone.”
Moss had never tried urban poling and said she was surprised to feel the different muscles in her arms engage from the movement.
Urban poling helps with posture alignment, stability and reduces stress on the lower body, but Moss said it also helps keep the body standing tall.
“We find that when we walk, our necks get sore because you’re always looking down,” she said. “I think with the walking sticks, it’s going to make you walk more upright and give you more stability that way.”
“Instead of looking down and having hunched shoulders and walking like that, you feel maybe a little bit more free to use the poles and look up and explore,” Campbell said.
Ann Pudwell with AHS said it’s important for everyone to stay active, but especially seniors.
“One of the biggest threats to seniors remaining independent and living in their own homes in falling,” she said.
Pudwell recommends 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
“We really want to see people stay independent and stay in their own homes and stay healthy,” she added.
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