By Michelle Wright, Strength For Life Program Coordinator, Victoria
As a Victorian Seniors Festival novice, I was highly impressed by the event. The timetable of activities and information was as diverse as it was engaging. The audience was open and receptive. I saw many passionate people sharing their skills, knowledge and expertise, all for the betterment of older Victorians.
Each day at the Festival Hub, COTA Victoria demonstrated its strength-based exercise program Living Longer Living Stronger™. The sessions allowed us to unveil the program’s new name, Strength For Life. They also allowed us to address some of the common concerns that stop people from joining the program.
Concern 1: Strength training is for young people going to the gym and gives you big muscles.
We hear this a lot! And it is one of the reasons we have changed the program’s name. Strength training is less about bulging muscles and much more about allowing people to do the things that they enjoy, for longer. These might include playing sport or picking up grandchildren, or just getting out of a chair or off the ground unassisted.
Increasing strength pays off for people at any age and stage of life. It provides better health, better mobility and longer freedom of independence to do the things you love.
Concern 2: You need to go to the gym to do strength training – I don’t like gyms.
Although many of our programs are offered at gyms, they are also offered at other locations. These include community and health centres. See further details.
Concern 3: My funds are limited, and I travel. I don’t want to commit to monthly payments.
This program is possibly the cheapest exercise option available that understands your unique needs and capabilities. It is about $6–$10 (depending on location) and you can pay as you go. We also throw in a cup of tea and biscuits at the end to celebrate the commitment you have made to come along and get strong.
At the Festival, Joe from Yarra Leisure, Nikki from Hampton Community Centre and myself were able to share some of the exercises that you might expect at a Strength For Life session. For the folk who didn’t see me on stage, I taught everyone how to get out of their chair.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘I get out of my chair every day. I don’t need to be taught that.’ But using a functional and daily movement – like getting out of your chair – as an opportunity to strengthen your gluteal (butt) muscles will do wonders. Strong glute muscles may mean less discomfort or pain in your lower back and better pelvic floor control. And a little work every day can pay compound interest!
And, yes, we laughed too.