Seniors facing fitness challenge

When the Terrace B.C. Aquatic Centre closed for renovations last week, it upset the exercise and social routines of 30 to 40 seniors.

From left

As the Terrace Aquatic Centre closed this last weekend for its lengthy renovation, it marked the temporary end of the aquafit water-exercise program – a change that upsets the exercise and social routine for the 30 to 40 seniors and people with mobility limitations.

Debbie van’t Kruis, program coordinator at the city’s leisure services department, says it will be very difficult for some.

“We do have a lot of people who have mobility issues or joint issues, arthritis, things like that, which make working out on land very uncomfortable,” she said, adding the social part is also key.

Deanna Lukasser has had two hip replacements and has been in aquafit for over 10 years, and though she understands that need pool closure to upgrade, she says it will be tough for some.

“Nothing is quite like this water exercise,” Lukasser said, adding that other exercise often causes pain. She’s taken other fitness classes, modifying or opting out of painful moves but not everyone can do the same, since the aquafit group has people with a wide range of limitations and capabilities.

Walking is an option, and chair yoga works but doesn’t bring up heart rate the same, she said, adding that she’s optimistic she will be able to adjust for the year the pool is closed. “There’s enough camaraderie that we know we can get together in groups and do walking or whatever,” she said of the aquafit group.

Leisure services employees  are providing information  about other fitness programs. This includes a new seniors fitness class called ActivAge starting in April, and a ‘Choose to Move’ program — both free.

‘Choose to Move’ provides seniors with a fitness coach to work with them to develop a personal fitness plan.

The aim is to find exercise that works for them and that they enjoy, said Tina Cann, the coach running the program, adding that it could even include gardening or walking.

“I am their number one cheerleader,” Cann said. She’ll check-in weekly with participants and help make adjustments as needed.

Terrace senior June Menzies, 92, has been an aquafit regular for years, and says she signed up for everything presented. “I’m always concerned about access,” she acknowledged, adding that she will try different things and see what works for her.

Regular pool user Randall Cote says says he’s been going to the pool for seven years, after suffering a brain injury in 2009.

He says he goes to the pool for exercise and to meditate on positive thoughts, cultivating gratitude.

“I know it’s going to be hard on me,” he said of the closure, adding that he does have a busy lifestyle and he is sure he will overcome.

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