Research cafe focuses on healthy aging

Kim Gammage, left, works with Helene Breton train at a Brock gym.

Kim Gammage, left, works with Helene Breton at a Brock gym.

Shirley Vint and Helene Breton look around the small gym in the lower level of Welch Hall and talk about how participating in a 12-week exercise intervention program for older adults at Brock changed their lives.

Vint became involved in the program five years ago and Breton three years ago. When the study period of the program ended after 12 weeks, they jumped at the chance to continue using the gym facilities for regular workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

For both of them, they have made regular exercise an important part of their lives.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” says Breton, a 67-year-old St. Catharines resident. “The program was wonderful and I just kept coming. I’ve lost weight. I’m more relaxed and outgoing. I feel better about myself in all ways — I’m a new person.”

Vint has osteoporosis and she says the exercise regimen has been very important in reducing the effects of the disease.

“My mother had osteoporosis and was in a wheelchair. I was determined that I wasn’t going to go there,” says the 73-year-old resident of Pelham.

Kim Gammage, associate professor of Kinesiology, leads the exercise intervention research study. The 12-week period of exercise includes cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance training. Many outcomes are assessed, including psychological variables such as body image and confidence, as well as physical outcomes such as strength improvement and balance improvement, to determine their relationship with independence in everyday life.

This research is supported by undergraduate and graduate students who volunteer their time to supervise and conduct testing.

Gammage, along with colleagues and graduate students from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, will discuss healthy aging at the Mapping the New Knowledges Research Café II on Feb. 8, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Pond Inlet. The title of the café is “Living Healthier, Living Better, Living Longer.” This is a free public event.

Also participating in the presentation will be Applied Health Sciences researchers Allan Adkin, Wendy Ward and Nota Klentrou, PhD students Larkin Lamarche and Izabella Ludwa, MSc students Deborah Jehu, Yasmeen Mezil and Jacob Pfeiffer, and recent MA graduate Lindsay Cline.

“The overall goal of our presentation is to share with people the building blocks around exercise, diet and mobility, to help build a more complete life as we age,” says Gammage. “I think people will walk away with a better sense of what they can do and of the benefits to their overall well-being including physical improvement, independence, increased confidence, enhanced mobility — just what we need to be ready for life’s challenges.”

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