UBC study to look at exercise habits of seniors

The Langara Family YMCA, located on 49 Avenue.
The Langara Family YMCA, located on 49 Avenue.

UBC is commencing a new study into the exercise routines of senior citizens 65 years or older at the Langara Family YMCA.

The Langara Family YMCA is among three locations in Greater Vancouver participating in the study.

“There will be less than 200 program participants which will be spread out over three locations,” said Dean Pogas, spokesman for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “Among the thousands of members we serve at the Langara Family YMCA, there will be likely less than 50 participants taking part [at that location].”

Many seniors participating in study

Mark Beauchamp is the director of the study and an associate professor at UBC. Samantha Harden, a postdoctoral fellow, is coordinating the study.

“The classes start March 3,” Harden said.

The study’s 2014 recruitment reached capacity on February 11.  However, to avoid media attention, Harden would not say more.

Staying fit and living longer

The study is intended to emulate a pre-existing exercise program named Fit Fellas in West Vancouver, according to the study’s website. Fit Fellas has been successfully maintaining adherence to consistent physical activity in senior men.

By being physically active, individuals can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, stress, and anxiety, according to Statistics Canada.

Yet Statistics Canada found that only 13 per cent of Canadians over 65 years old engage in the recommended physical activity.  The recommended amount of activity per week is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, accumulated in 10-minute periods.

By 2036, it is projected that 25 per cent of Canadians will be 65 years old or older.

If interested, the second year of the study will be a new opportunity to enroll in 2015.

Reported by Graham McFie

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