16 January 2014
Retirement village residents exercise more than their peers in the community, a new study shows.
Nicki Brown, Triple A Programme Manager at Ryman Healthcare, has devised exercise programmes used by 2500 residents at Ryman Healthcare’s retirement villages throughout New Zealand.
Ms Brown started Ryman’s Triple A (Ageless, Active Aware) programme in 2007 and last year she completed a study to see whether what she was doing was paying off.
The research project became part of her Bachelor of Applied Science qualification.
Ms Brown measured the physical activity levels of a group of subjects from throughout New Zealand prior to moving into a retirement village and then again after they moved into the village.
The conclusion was that moving into a village resulted in new habits that included more exercise.
“It’s a significant result because there’s a wealth of evidence that shows the more you exercise the healthier and more independent you will be in the long term.’’
Regular exercise can help ward of the affects of heart disease, dementia and other age-related illnesses.
Ms Brown’s research observed an increase in physical activity levels and participation once her study sample moved into a village. She had a 91% response rate from her sample with residents averaging 79 years. The oldest participant was 90 and residents at 13 retirement villages from around New Zealand took part.
She said a common response from people new to her programme was that they were too old or infirm to take part. The Triple A programme takes all levels of fitness and mobility into account.
“The truth is that you’re never too old to exercise – you’ve just got to choose the right way to do it.’’
When you have a gym, a pool and regular exercise classes on tap, it is harder to come up with excuses not to exercise. Social outings were also a factor in the increase in exercise, with residents opting to walk to visit other people in the village or to do errands, rather than having to drive.
Bruce Gray moved into a Ryman village last year. He never misses his Triple A fix.
“I go three times a week – I’d go five but I’ve got golf on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I do Triple A for 40 minutes, and then go for 30 minutes in the pool.’’
The move into a village had changed his lifestyle, Gray says.
“I’ve always loved the water but I never would have gone to exercise classes before - I just couldn’t be bothered. Everything’s here for me – it takes me three minutes to walk to Triple A. I see all my neighbours on the way.’’
The most significant health improvement participants reported from the increased exercise was greater balance and over-all mobility, Brown says.
Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact David King, corporate affairs manager, Ryman Healthcare.
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About Ryman: Ryman was founded in 1984 and has gone on to become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company currently owns 26 villages and serves over 7,000 residents in New Zealand and Australia as well as employing more than 3000 staff. Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.