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Old Colonists' Association of Victoria aged care residents test out the equipment in the new exercise park which is located within the Leith Park centre's grounds.

Innovative exercise park in aged care

For the first time an exercise park has been installed in a residential aged care facility in Victoria with the aim to help residents to improve their strength, balance and mobility.

This is the third exercise park established under the National Ageing Research Institute’s (NARI) ENJOY research project led by Associate Professor Pazit Levinger and funded by Perpetual’s 2018 IMPACT Philanthropy Program and Gandel Philanthropy. The two other parks have been set up in public spaces.

Across the eight equipment stations at the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria’s Leith Park 16 exercises will be used to train participants in strength and balance, sit and stand exercises and walking on uneven surfaces which aim reduce their risk of falls.

“All the movements are very relevant to what they need to do during the day. They are very functional,” Levinger said.

“The main aim of the project is to implement and evaluate the effect of sustaining engagement in physical activity as well as social and mental health,” she added.

“The social aspect is so important because we don’t just want to reduce loneliness, we also want them to exercise together as they will enjoy doing it in a group and are more likely to continue exercising after we finish (the project).”

NARI has recruited participants who are inactive and have increased risk of falls but don’t have cognitive decline.

Each is provided with a few month’s training and then encouraged to exercise by themselves at the same site with the aim of trying to the research participants to take control and become more physically active.

Once the NARI research is completed the equipment will remain in place for the use by physiotherapists, and the venue’s residents and clients outside the ENJOY project.

For more information, phone Levinger on (03) 8387 2626 or go to nari.net.au/enjoy.

This article was originally published on Seniors News.

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