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Making exercise fun

11 July 2018

1684 views comments • Tagged as Staff Stories Our Residents Napier

Deborah Watts, Diversional Therapist, Atawhai Rest Home


Exercise is good for us, that’s a fact, even though some of us would prefer to believe that eating chocolate and drinking red wine is good us! But what if exercising was fun, social and upbeat? What if you didn’t even realise you were actually exercising? Now that sounds a whole lot more inviting, doesn’t it!


For the elderly, exercise is vital, regardless of their level of ability or fitness.  Exercise not only strengthens the muscles, but in doing so it also helps reduce falls.  It is also known to lower the risk of debilitating conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. It can give you a sense of wellbeing and even improve your mood!


About two weeks ago, you may recall seeing on a story on Seven Sharp about one of my colleagues at another Oceania rest home in Auckland who runs a ‘silent disco’. Her residents are kitted out with wireless headphones and do a series of movements in time to the music, guided by her voice which is transmitted through the headsets. Google the words ‘Seven Sharp silent disco’ and check out the video. Those people are having fun!


Here at Atawhai, we are yet to try this new and innovative way of exercising, so we decided to try a not-so-silent disco in the meantime.  When we started our disco exercise class two weeks ago, our residents immediately got into the groove so to speak.  Most of them would have been used to attending Saturday night dances in their younger days so moving to music brought back some happy memories.  


In our class, everyone is seated and we use props such as light shakers and scarves to encourage a variety of different movements. By the end of the class, the whole body gets a good work out followed a gentle stretch. We also like to add a bit of silly humour to each class, so the staff get dressed up and dance to YMCA. There is method to our madness. Laughter is a great mood booster and an abdominal workout all in one! 


One of our newest residents, Pat, describes our disco class as “much more enjoyable than the usual exercise class where we’re moving to commands like ‘arms up’. 


Why not put on your favourite CD at home and get dancing?  Sitting or standing, pick what feels right for your level of fitness and get moving to your favourite music!


Find out more about Atawhai Rest Home

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