Seniorfit, keeping seniors in their homes

With her goal of keeping as many seniors as possible active so they can remain independent and living in their own homes, Marilyn Parisien, told a group of 12 seniors, Wednesday, “we are trying to improve your balance and your strength, to help reduce your chance of a fall.”

Parisien is a Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA) certified instructor who brought her 16 week Seaway Seniorfit Program to the Allan Hall at Lakeshore Drive United Church in Morrisburg in the fall.

Thanks to the successful fall launch, Seniorfit, for individuals 55 plus, returned for a winter session which kick ed off the week of January 13.

Hour-long classes are offered twice per week in Morrisburg, on Mondays (beginning at 10 a.m.) and Wednesdays (beginning at 10:45 a.m.) Classes are also offered at the Presbyterian Church Hall in Ingleside, on Tuesdays, beginning at 10:15 a.m.

“It’s been  very successful,” says Parisien. “My goal is to offer Seniorfitness from Morrisburg to Lancaster.”

With 14 seniors now registered in Morrisburg, she says she would be happy to see a class of 20 by next year at this time, although the Allan Hall could easily accommodate 26. 

Parisien told Wednesday’s class, “we take our bodies for granted as we age. You like to drive and you want to live in your own home until you are 90, but all it takes is one fall to change our lives forever. We do all of this to help reduce falls. There is a reason behind every single element we do in a class.”

Parisien explains that the CCAA is Canada’s leader in current research and program development for improved physical ability and healthy aging for older adults. It is a not-for-profit national research and education centre within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario.

“I have four certified instructors, including myself, and we are getting hands on information on how to conduct our classes.”

“Older adults want to be able to stay functional within their environment…getting up from chairs, climbing stairs, washing their hair…all the activities we all do in our day-to-day living.”

“Our goal is to help them to be able to care for themselves. To do that, we have to keep ourselves strong.:”

Seniorfiti classes target cardio, respiratory, strength building, muscle endurance, core balance and flexiciblity at a pace suitable to the senior participants. 

“We spend a good amount of time on balance work. Our focus is fall prevention. We work on strengthening the lower body and core which helps to prevent and reduce risk of fall.”

Parisien also points out, the Seniorfit Program provides a social outlet for the participants as “many live by themselves. This gives them a social outlet which is really important. Everyone gets to know each other and have some fun.”

Welcome participants in the Morrisburg Seniorfit classes are two men. “It would certainly be nice to get more men,” says Parisien. “They do a lot of outdoor work in the summer, but in the winter they aren’t doing as much.”

Parisien says the classeses are geared for 55 years and up. “I have a 92 year old, but most are in their 60s and 70s.

Chairs are set up at the perimeter of the workout area for each class. Some people do the class in the chair. For instance I had one lady who had a knee replacement. We can even teach to someone in a walker. I call it a mixed mobility class. We can reach out to seniors with low mobilibty and to seniors with high mobility.”

Parisien welcomes anyone to come out and try a class at any time. “There is no pressure, that’s why I invite them to try a class. Once they come in, and try a class, they seethe  benefit.”

Parisien’s career has always been in the fitness industry. In addition to her Seniorfit program, she business offers boot camp, aquafitness, strength training and Zumba with instructors hired who specialize in the various areas.

Anyone interested can drop by the Allan Hall at Lakeshore Drive United Church in Morrisburg, on Monday or Wednesday mornings about 15 minutes prior to the start of the class. Running shoes are the only equipment needed. A warm sweatshirt that can be removed is also recommended.

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