Seniors step up to walk challenge

By Geoff Lee

September 27, 2016 1:30 PM

Active seniors at the Dr. James Hemstock residence in Lloydminster will be doing their best to improve their overall fitness and health this week.

It’s Active Aging Week from Sept. 25 until Oct. 1 with all Hemstock locations in Canada participating in a special walk across Canada challenge.

“Hemstock is owned by a company called Verve Senior Living, so the different sites are walking across Canada together,” said Amber Willis, marketing manager in Lloydminster.

Lloydminster Hemstock seniors will complete the 546 kilometre leg with indoor and outdoor walks and different exercises that equate to kilometres.
“This is the first time that we’ve done this, but it will probably be an annual event,” said Willis.

Active Aging Week will touch on the five keys to active aging at Hemstock residences including emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual wellness.

A bean bag toss, a community nature walk, line dance lessons, healthy cooking in residents’ suites and spiritual yoga, round out Active Aging Week activities.

Only the most active of Hemstock’s 152 residents who are up to 95 years old are expected to take part in the walk to Regina.

“They can keep track on their own pedometer or we have a set distance set up inside and outside for them to keep track,” said Willis.

They can also earn kilometres through an exercise program.
“There’s a formula, so if they do a half an hour of exercise, it’s this far,” said Willis.

Seniors who take part in the walk to Regina will simply get the satisfaction of knowing they did it with no certificates or awards to be presented.

“A lot of them are part of a walking club and participate in daily exercise, so it’s kind of a way to have a new goal and know that they’re working towards something that’s kind of fun,” said Willis.

Frequent exercise is a must-have for 66 year-old Gaye Hironaka who is in wheelchair.

“If I don’t do my exercise and my body movements, everything’s going to stiffen up and then I’m going to lose it,” she said at the start of a group class.

Hironaka practices a regular regime of stretching, range of motion exercises, some weight lifting and some just deep meditation and deep breathing.

She also does some exercises on a computer for brain stimulation.
“I want to keep moving and stay active both mentally and physically,” she said.

Ellie Day, who is 82, credits being physically fit with her recovery from hip and knee surgery with flying colours.

She also attends group classes led by life enrichment manager Krysta Davies at Hemstock.

“We do all kinds of bending and stretching and raising our arms as high as we can and tipping our bodies for back and shoulder strength,” said Day.
As for walking across Canada, Day said, “If I could I sure would. I will try my best.”

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