Older people in Andover are getting help to avoid falls through two new fitness and strength classes started at Andover Leisure Centre.
Falls destroy confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. Research by Age UK shows that around 1 in 10 older people who fall become afraid to leave their homes in case they fall again.
After a fall, an older person has a 50% probability of having their mobility seriously impaired and a 10% probability of dying within a year.
But a tailored programme to help older people get stronger can reduce falls by 54%.
The new Andover based Steady and Strong class at the leisure centre includes exercises done standing up and sitting down.
The Ready, Stready, Otago class, on the other hand, is mainly sitting exercises and is an ideal introduction to fitness or for people who can’t stand for long.
Both classes help people get stronger and have better balance, which in turn improves confidence and mobility.
Valley Leisure, the charitable trust that run Andover Leisure Centre, is working with Hampshire County Council, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Test Valley Borough Council to add these classes to the county-wide Better Balance for Life programme.
Better Balance for Life encourages people to stay active in old age because it helps them stay fit, well and independent.
“We want to help people stay as independent as possible, for as long as possible. These sessions are some of the best around and they really make a difference to people’s lives by helping them feel stronger and more confident,” said Liz Murray, community development manager for Valley Leisure.
The classes in Andover have been supported by Waitrose and Simplyhealth too.
Funding from Waitrose in Andover has helped the fitness instructors learn new techniques and Simplyhealth has paid for equipment such as beanbags, stimulation balls and an agility ladder to make the classes more fun and enjoyable.
Simplyhealth will also help pay for the training of another fitness instructor in postural stability to give more people more help.
“This is a real partnership project between the community and local businesses. We’re really grateful for everyone’s support,” said Liz.
For more information, contact Laura Thomson, Every Body Active Coordinator at Andover Leisure Centre on 01264 347100.