New LIFE Program to Kick Off!
“All the pieces have finally fallen into place and we are ready to start the LIFE program,” reports Mandy Maher, Program Coordinator for Iowa State University Extension & Outreach-Fremont County.
It was in August, 2012, that Iowa State University researchers received new funding from the Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to evaluate an intergenerational exercise program for older adults in 21 rural Iowa counties, including Fremont County. Since that time, Maher and her staff, along with Barb Fuller, ISU Extension and Outreach Program Specialist, have been gathering materials, finding locations, and recruiting volunteers to lead the classes.
The LIFE program introduces older adults to exergaming, video games that integrate game play with physical activity. Younger adults (age 16 and older) serve as LIFE trainers for the older adult participants. The LIFE trainers and have completed extensive training on using the Kinect®gaming system, leading interactive games, and offering assistance and applying safety precautions when working with older adults as they engage in physical activity.
“The trainers and older adult participants will meet twice a week for eight weeks to play Kinect® Sports for an hour per session, combining aerobic and resistance activity,” Barb Fuller, ISU Extension and Outreach Program Specialist explained. During the pilot phase in 2011, the LIFE program showed that older adults age 60+ could improve their flexibility and hand grip strength in just six months with appropriate aerobic exercise and resistance activity.
“Participants can play tennis and bowl and run around a track — as they work out in place while the Kinect® game is shown on the television screen in front of them,” Fuller said. “The trainers provide encouragement and assistance as the participants exercise.”
Volunteers have been trained and are ready to offer a class in the Hamburg community. A start date will be determined once participants have registered. Classes will be held at the Park Washington Plaza Community Room, 407 H Street, Hamburg. Participants will be asked to arrive 30 minutes early for the first class.
In Sidney, LIFE classes will begin on Wednesday, May 29th and will be held Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. through July 22nd. Sidney classes will be held at the Sidney Elementary School Music Room. Participants will be asked to arrive 30 minutes early for the first class.
Each location is limited to 10 adults, age 60+ who are committed to attending twice a week for eight weeks. There is no cost to participate. Pre-registration is required by calling ISU Extension & Outreach-Fremont County at 712-374-2351. Classes are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.
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