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New program aims to prevent falls for older adults in N.L.

Participants and trainers for the Active for Life training session were (front row, from left) Dr. Jeannette Byrne, Deb Noseworthy, Karen Oldford, Christine Edmunds, Stacey Roberts, Rebecca MacDonald, Georgina Smith, (back row, from left) Jen Temple, Robin Wight, Jerry Knee, Wanda Merrigan, Sharon Pelley, Allison Power and Kelli Lannon.
Participants and trainers for the Active for Life training session were (front row, from left) Dr. Jeannette Byrne, Deb Noseworthy, Karen Oldford, Christine Edmunds, Stacey Roberts, Rebecca MacDonald, Georgina Smith, (back row, from left) Jen Temple, Robin Wight, Jerry Knee, Wanda Merrigan, Sharon Pelley, Allison Power and Kelli Lannon.

A new physical activity program designed to reduce the risk of falls in older adults has been launched in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador has created Active for Life in partnership with Memorial University’s School of Human Kinetics and Recreation.

“We identified a gap for older adults in Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador physical activity programming and Active for Life will help fill that void,” Recreation NL president Annette Oldford said in a news release.

So far, 13 community recreation leaders from across the province have been trained to deliver the program in their communities.

Active for Life focuses on using physical activity to increase mobility, develop muscle strength, improve balance and reduce falls risk among older adults.

It consists of a warm-up, strengthening exercises, balance exercises and obstacle course that tests different skills and abilities, followed by a cool down.

Regular physical activity offsets some of the negative changes that typically occur with aging, such as chronic diseases, muscle weakness and mobility issues.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 20-30 per cent of older adults fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations for older adults.

“Active for Life trainers are provided with information on older adults falls risk, how physical activity can reduce the risk of falling and a detailed exercise plan to deliver to older adults,” Oldford said.

“We are delighted to get this program up and running and look forward to expanding to towns and communities across the province.”

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