In these times of restrictive lifestyles, some of the mature residents in Knock have enjoyed the lifeline given to them by Mayo Sports Partnership through a weekly Activator Poles Outdoor Exercise Class. The class, which has been running since July, has proved to be a great success and very popular with many elderly and retired.
Exercise classes using activator poles, is relatively new and has been introduced to the county by a Mayo Man, Frank Fahey, consultancy worker for Sports Partnerships throughout the country, who was born and raised in Hollymount. Frank saw the need for classes for seniors to support them in retaining and improving their mobility through using Activator Poles for balance and stability.
The class in Knock came about following discussions with Ray McNamara, Sports Inclusion Development Officer with Mayo Sports Partnership, who, in March, facilitated exercise sheets being provided for 'Care Packages' which were given to the elderly in Knock during Lockdown by the Knock Community Futures Team.
Breda Johnston, who is a member of the Elderly Network Group and Knock Community Futures team, aware of the importance of exercise for mental and physical well-being, worked with Mayo Sports Partnership and encouraged them to use Knock as a location for a pilot project for Activator Poles, and through these discussions the classes were put in place.
Breda said: "Tracy Cunnane, Sports Instructor, based in Ballyhaunis, delivers the class and in addition to providing direction for mobilising and exercising the body, relates the relevance of these exercises to keeping strength in the body for simple everyday living tasks, such as getting up from sitting, climbing steps, and balance. Some of the exercises are done to music and Tracy's light-hearted personality and good humour is an added plus to the class.
"Participants have gained benefits in terms of exercise, having the opportunity of getting out in the fresh air and interacting with others in a positive, safe way. Many participants have said, that they look forward to Wednesdays with many stating that they can move easier and definitely feel the benefits of the classes.
"It has given many who have retired to Knock the opportunity to meet others and it has also brought the importance of exercise in their daily living back into focus. It is thanks to Mayo Sports Partnership, Knock Seniors have this positive weekly focus since July."
It is hoped to put two further classes in place early next year, one to cater to those less mobile and an Activator Poles Class for Men. Interest is also being sought for a Men on The Move Programme. For more information on any of these programmes contact Breda Johnston on (086 ) 3226494.