Older Adults Are Keeping Fit and Having Fun - Online!

Saskatchewan’s fitness leaders have laced up their sneakers, and are exploring new ways of keeping people fit and staying connected with people in their community.

Online workouts have become the latest trend for teens and adults, but not enough is being done to support seniors with their fitness and well-being. Val Choo-Foo, an In Motion Community Facilitator with the City of Swift Current, felt inspired by the online workout trend, and began thinking about doing things differently to help older adults stay active.  

Forever…in motion is a program that helps older adults stay active by improving their cardio, balance, core, flexibility and strength through light exercises. To make these exercises easy and accessible for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Choo-Foo created Forever…in motion videos and posted them on the City of Swift Current’s website - a popular go-to hub for information in her community.

“Shortly after we were instructed to self-isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to ask one of our leaders to host and record a couple 45-minute exercise classes so that we could share them online within our community,” said Choo-Foo. “Our leader Bernice, was very willing to lead the project, and she did an excellent job!”

The videos are available on the City of Swift Current’s website and more are being planned. Choo-Foo added, “I received several emails and phone calls from seniors who have really enjoyed the videos and said that it’s their only exercise they get in the day, and they love seeing Bernice’s friendly face in their homes!”

The Forever…in motion program has taken off in the City of Swift Current and Choo-Foo felt the videos would keep the momentum going. “The Forever…in motion program has become very popular, expanding from twice a week in one location in 2017 up to 4 times a week in 3 locations in 2019” said Choo-Foo. “The increase in the number of participants and the number of programs offered demonstrates the need and desire for a program like this in our community,” she added.

Choo-Foo also stressed that “during this pandemic, it is very important that we try to stay connected with people so we don’t feel isolated, depressed, and alone.” However, while advances in technology such as FaceTime and Zoom have made it easier for people to connect online, it can be challenging and frustrating for older adults. “We need to make it as easy as possible to access, but unfortunately for some, they may not have access to technology,” said Choo-Foo.

If older adults do not have access to computers or devices to access the internet, alternative options are available. Choo-Foo created a Wellness Bingo card for seniors to help them focus on healthy lifestyles choices. “I think that we all feel we can’t control much around us these days, but staying active is something that we can control while having fun at the same time!” She later added, “the Wellness Bingo card is a really good option for people to break up the everyday monotony and can be altered to fit the needs of any family or group of friends.”

To view the Forever…in motion videos produced by Val and her team, watch the videos embedded on this page or visit the City of Swift Current’s website. Anyone is welcome to perform the exercises featured in the videos, however please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program. While this public health crisis is still ongoing, Val wants to remind people “remember to have patience, keep smiling and most importantly have some fun!”