Age is just a number – stay with the programme and stay active

Excitement is mounting as the final event in the 5km “Run your personal best race” series fast approaches.

In celebration of their 20th birthday, the Community Health InterventionProgrammes (CHIPs) of the Sports Science Institute of SA arranged a road show of fun runs, and the final one is slightly longer and takes the form of a scenic 7.2km trail walk/run at the Chrysalis Academy on Saturday November 18, although there is a 4km walk on offer too.

Lovely prizes are up for grabs, including a Sport Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA)membership and a FutureLife hamper.

Designed to make exercise and a healthy lifestyle more accessible to previously disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape, the CHIPs programmes cater for all ages.

Live it Up is the programme for older adults, and it is offered twice weekly in 16 communities at community centres, senior clubs or places of worship.

Don’t be surprised if you see some of the 700 or so members at the Chrysalis Academy event.

A typical exercise session for Live it Up includes seated exercises to improve their muscle strength and balance.

There is also an educational component that focuses on chronic disease management and coping with the challenges associated with ageing.

Research shows that most older adults don’t get enough physical activity, and lack of exercise and a poor diet are major contributing factors to illness and disability.

Exercise, even after the age of 60, can add healthy and active years to one’s life, and even small amounts of regular activity can lower the risk of mortality significantly.

It can also improve some diseases’ states and disabilities in older people and can make tasks or hobbies such as gardening, carrying parcels and climbing stairs seem easier.

Regular exercise can improve mood and relieve depression, too.

A few other benefits of exercise for older adults include:

A stronger heart, better circulation and improved cholesterol profiles.

Decreased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) or lowering of current raised blood pressure.

Better lung function and breathing capacity.

Decreased risk of suffering from chronic lifestyle diseases (heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis).

Stronger bones due to higher bone density thereby preventing or delaying osteoporosis.

Decreased pain from arthritis.

Stronger muscles with decreased wasting away of muscle tissue.

A stronger immune system.

Better stress and anxiety management, a decreased risk of depression and an improved senseofwell-being.And improved sleep quality.

For more information on the 5km “Run your personal best race” series, email Juandre Davids at jdavids@ssisa.com

Registration starts at 7am and the start time is 8.30am. Events are open to all and cost R10 for adults and R5 fo children with every participant receiving a FutureLife sachet.

Kathleen McQuaide is SSISA strategic, media and sponsorship manager.