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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New Ballarat Seniors exercise park opens

Ballarat’s older adults will now be able to enjoy greater outdoor physical activity following the launch of regional Victoria’s first Seniors Exercise Park. 

Situated at Mt Pleasant Reserve, the Exercise Park allows older adults to engage in physical programs as they also enjoy social interaction with others and is an important part of Council’s vision to become an Age Friendly community.

The City of Ballarat has partnered with the National Ageing Research Institute to install the innovative site in Ballarat. 

The ‘ENJOY’ (Exercise interveNtion outdoor proJect in the cOmmunitY) MAP for HEALTH project was unveiled last week with the project aimed at evaluating the effects of sustained engagement in physical activity on mental health and physical outcomes for older people using the Seniors Exercise Park.

National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) shows that only 25% of older Australians meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.

NARI says creating opportunities for older people to engage in outdoor physical activity requires commitment from the community and local governments.

“The beauty of the ENJOY MAP for HEALTH program is people will be trained to deliver the specialist exercise programs, which means the Seniors Exercise Park will have longevity in the community,” NARI Director, Professor Briony Dow said.

She said the Seniors Exercise Park would assist older people to improve their strength, balance, joint movements, mobility and function.

The Park deliberately features unstable surfaces to challenge balance and promote core strength.

“State Trustees is proud to support such an important community facility that is needed more than ever as Victorians come out of lockdown. It is critical for all of us, at every age, to keep active, connected and healthy,” State Trustee Foundation Executive General Manager, Michael W. Spiegel said.

“As the Public Trustee of Victoria, we feel privileged to play a small part in the wellbeing of all Victorians helping them to live on.”

Ballarat Mayor, Daniel Moloney said partners Banyule Council, NARI and the State Trustee Foundation of Australia had helped Council make the seniors exercise park a reality for Ballarat.

“We greatly appreciate their contribution to a facility that I am certain will be welcomed and utilised by our older, active citizens wishing to maintain their health and physical strength and improve their quality of life,” he said.

National Ageing Research Institute Director, Professor Briony Dow notes “The beauty of the ENJOY MAP for HEALTH program is people will be trained to deliver the specialist exercise programs, which means the Seniors Exercise Park will have longevity in the community.”

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