Live Longer, Live Stronger


Strength for Life is a program designed by the Council on the Aging (COTA) and is aimed at promoting health and well-being amongst people over 50 and over 40 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

Evidence indicates that regular physical activity can have a positive effect on global muscle strength, cardiac and respiratory function, mental health, flexibility, balance, chronic pain management, musculoskeletal and metabolic conditions. Not to mention the social benefits from participating in-group based exercises.

In the autumn edition we talked about the process of beginning the strength for life classes, and in the summer edition, we were lucky enough to get some testimonials from two of our regular Strength for Life participants Peter, 65 and Sheila 83.

Why did you start exercising in the Strength for Life class at Pro Health Care?

Peter: I had reached that stage of life when my body was starting to seize up with arthritis. I had already had a hip replacement at age 54 and a couple of arthroscopies on my knee with the advice that one day my knee would need a replacement. You hear a lot of opinions from different sources, but one I took note of was that exercise and muscle strength, would help support joints against the deterioration from arthritis. The icing on the cake too, was that my medical benefit cover would pay for each session
as we went.

Sheila: Many of my friends have told me how good Strength for Life classes are. My friend found out that they were available at PHC and we started together.

What are the benefits you have seen physically and mentally from participating in the Strength for Life classes?

Peter: I have been attending classes twice a week for the last two and a half years. Initially, there was an almost immediate feeling of muscle awareness in my legs during and after classes. As time went on this improved the muscle support for my knees and now I feel the need for a knee replacement is a long way off. Mentally I feel refreshed and no longer think about returning to hospital for further surgery.

Sheila: The classes are enjoyable, I feel happy and relaxed. I have always been fit but now I am feeling light and strong. My balance is improving and I have a general sense of wellbeing.

How has exercising at Strength for Life class helped you with your activities of daily living? eg gardening?

Peter: For the last five years our life has included three grandchildren and so far looking after two of them a couple of days a week. This includes lifting, bending, squatting and tripping over toys left on the floor. Having the overall body strength has helped in this area and made the time with our grandkids very enjoyable and not a task that exhausts you each week. Some years ago I had trouble when starting the lawnmower. Now I have worked on my back strength this problem has gone.

Sheila: I think the exercises help me sleep. I can bend and stretch without effort. I can run and jump and play with my grandchildren. Everything I do, all my activities are easier because my muscles are stronger.

What do you enjoy about the Strength for Life class?

Peter: A number of people like the social side of the classes, interacting with others with similar goals for attending the classes. I like the sense of achievement when I master an exercise, then challenge myself to achieve a higher level.

Sheila: I like doing my own program with the companionship of others doing theirs. I like Ben’s encouragement to try new things. He is thoughtful and encourages with a light touch. I feel free to go at my own pace and a challenge to reach for more.

What would you say to anyone thinking about joining the Strength for Life classes?

Peter: These classes are perfect for adding valuable overall strength to an ageing body, which is starting to slow down due to arthritic or similar concerns. The Exercise Physiologists will set a program of exercises suited to you and if you have medical cover you will have
no or very little cost. If not, it will be the best $8 you will ever spend.

Sheila: Do it now! It is fun and good for you.

If you feel like you are in the same boat as Peter or Sheila and want to try our Strength for Life classes then please book with one of our Exercise Physiologists at Kidman Park, Mitcham or Hope Valley and begin your own journey!

Pro Exercise SA  Ben Edwards, Exercise Physiologist

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