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How do you support older people to get physically active? | Coaching Adults

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Posted in: All other topics on coaching adults

How do you support older people to get physically active?

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  • Craigblain

    The CSP (Chartered Society for Physiotherapists) recently released a great animation for strength and balance activities linked to falls prevention and I think it would be really useful for those who are working with or looking to engage older people in activity. (https://www.connectedcoaches.org/spaces/3/coaching-adults/video/Craigblain/wall-videos/9386/engaging-older-people-in-physical-activity)

    I would love to use it to open up the debate on how as coaches we are engaging and supporting older people/the least mobile to remain active?

  • anfy
      Answered

    As a bowls coach, the bulk of new participants each year are over 65 - people tend to take up bowls when they retire and/or they are fed up with playing golf in the rain! Most participants keep playing well into their 90's - even playing from a wheelchair if disabled by stroke, etc. But it appears to be sneered at and considered not a genuine "sport".

    As an exercise regime, I think it is perfect, as it involves gentle walking (I reckon a bowls match involves at least 1 km of walking), balance, repeated squats, etc. All of this must be done when the body is relaxed - you get instant feedback if you bowl tense! An added bonus is the social side - vital in keeping older people active and involved. 

    I reckon joining a bowls club ought to be on prescription! For those of you who think it is easy, I suggest you try and bowl in two three-hour matches back-to-back... I wonder how many physiotherapists actually recommend taking up bowls rather than doing a boring set of exercises?

    Off out now for the first session of coaching for 20 brand new bowlers. Doing my bit for the elderly! (I'm only 69, so I guess I am one of them!)

  • Craigblain

    Anthea, Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my vlog, I really do value your comments. I hope that the content of the animation was of use to you. Bowls does sound like a really great sport! to engage older people in, as are many other sports.

    • What type of warm up activities do you currently use with your bowlers? 
    • How different from the exercises the animation?

    I am assuming very similar from what you describe the bowling action to be.

    Your group sounds to be flourishing with 20 new participant engaging with you,

    • Are you doing anything to highlight to your local health networks how relevant your session could be to the health of the residents?

    Well worth a conversation it sounds like as you seem to have a  great passion for your sport, and the ability to highlight where this connects to broader health outcomes.

    • Does anyone else have examples of where this type of signposting has worked well?

    #KeepTheConversationGoing

  • anfy
    On 04/10/17 3:27 PM, Craig Blain said:

    What type of warm up activities do you currently use with your bowlers? 

    We use mainly stretching exercises as (1) bowls is not a cardio-intensive sport and (2) bowls needs to be done with a relaxed body - tension is a major factor in playing badly. I have attached a booklet I hand out when introducing new bowlers to the concept of warm-up (all four pages get printed on one A4 sheet, then repeated for the other side, so it folds into an A6 booklet). It is a much simplified version of the required element of the Level 1 and 2 qualification. Unfortunately, this element is generic (not bowls specific) and, if many of my players were to attempt the "recommended" exercises, we would have 999 on speed dial! A cool down is also incorporated as you will see from the leaflet.

    On 04/10/17 3:27 PM, Craig Blain said:

    How different from the exercises the animation?

    You will see from the exercises that they are beyond the animation! (for example, the animation has someone walking a few steps, holding onto the furniture. A bowls green is approx. 35m long, with no hand rail!) Even if someone is playing from a wheelchair, they would need to stretch the upper body, and vice versa if using a bowling arm. By adapting exercises and equipment, we are able to cover the full spectrum of ages and abilities.

    On 04/10/17 3:27 PM, Craig Blain said:

    Are you doing anything to highlight to your local health networks how relevant your session could be to the health of the residents?

    No. Perhaps we should. On a personal note, I have twice had operations where the physios visited me the next day to start working on getting me fit & mobile again. Both times I was told there was nothing they needed to/could do and the fast recovery was put down to the fact that bowls had kept everything agile. I could quote many other cases!

    A challenge : I am sure the coaching team would be happy to run a "beginners" session for anyone interested in giving bowls a go - even if only in the interests of research! We are based in Alton in Hampshire.

    I have attached a snippet of some video we took today, showing how we make a start with beginners. We are applying for grant to replace the leaking roof and they have asked for a supporting Youtube video! Suddenly I have gone from coach to film director, so I have been collecting "evidence" for about a week now ... (Wish us luck with the grant, or the centre may have to close)

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