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Students to assess benefits of outdoor gyms
A study into the health benefits of an outdoor gym for the elderly planned for Tauranga’s Kulim Park is to be carried out by Bay of Plenty Polytechnic sport and recreation students.
Fundraising for the outdoor exercise equipment to help keep older people active has reached the halfway mark, with the final $15,000 the subject of an application to community funder BayTrust.
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has also approached for funding on the basis that it was in ACC's interest to keep older people fit in order to reduce the high incidence of claims that related to falls.
ACC Media Manager Sarah Martin told the Bay of Plenty Times its focus was on expanding community strength and health programmes which evidence showed reduced the risk of falls. It was funding the expansion of Age Concern's Steady As You Go falls prevention programme into Tauranga.
The one-hour-a-week programme focussed on strength and balance for over 65-year-olds living independently, with the additional benefit of social interaction.
Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Sport and Recreation Group Leader Peter Sommers advised that when the outdoor gym is built, Bachelor of Sport and Recreation students would assist the elderly to write fitness programmes and then research the physiological and social benefits.
Sommers said the students would do a series of baseline tests on volunteers, set the fitness programmes and then test them again later.
Max Lewis of Tauranga's Elders Forum explained that it would be vital to ensure that the gym was well used and that the group is negotiating to get commitments from 12 groups that took the elderly out of their homes for exercise.
He explained “gyms keep elderly (people) fit, active and engaged in the community."
Lewis is encouraged that the gym will be beside a popular walkway, close to public toilets and next to the area for petanque, adding “we see it as an attractive area that people will use."
He hopes that once the benefits of the gym are proven that the ACC to help fund more gyms in Tauranga. TECT had contributed $10,000 to the gym while the council provided the site and a grant of $5000.
Tauranga City Council is currently considering a policy to allow the development of more gyms on its reserves.
Image courtesy of The Great Outdoor Fym Company. Image used for illustrative purposes only.
18th August 2015 - CAMPBELLTOWN RECREATION PLANNER QUESTIONS THE VALUE OF OUTDOOR GYMS
6th March 2014 - OUTDOOR EXERCISE MORE BENEFICIAL THAN GYM-BASED ACTIVITY?
17th December 2013 - GYMGURU LAUNCHES NEW ZEALAND-DEVELOPED RANGE OF OUTDOOR GYM EQUIPMENT
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