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Flaxmere community exercise classes recognised

The popular senior strength and balance classes run at the Flaxmere Community Centre have been accredited by ACC (the Stronger for Longer lead agency in Hawke’s Bay) and Enliven Older People Services, in recognition of their contribution to the health and wellbeing of older people in the community.

Running since August last year at the Hastings District Council facility, the classes, which are on the ACC-approved list as well, have been growing since they began, currently attended by about 25 people twice a week.

Acting group manager community facilities and programmes Dennise Elers says attendees report that they have become more mobile as a result with less rigidity in the upper body and better balance.

“There’s also the hidden benefits such as the improved social wellbeing people experience, getting together with others in the community and feeling safer when they are out and about.”

Elaine Ward has been going to the classes regularly and says she’s seen marked improvements in her health and flexibility.

“I think it’s marvellous - it’s helped me a lot.

“I’ve lost a bit of weight and my blood pressure has gone down - I’ve halved the medication I’m taking.

“It’s also motivating and makes me do stuff - overall my movement has improved and it’s good to have the company as well.”

Enliven community services coordinator Kirstin Thompson says community-based exercise classes have to meet a range of criteria to be accredited, and that the Flaxmere classes easily qualified.

The benefits of the classes were wide-ranging, she said.

“Older people who attend regularly increase their strength and balance, reduce their risk of falls and fall-related injuries, and continue to contribute to their families and communities and live independent lives.”

Being an approved provider also meant the Flaxmere classes were more likely to receive referrals through GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and other community organisations.

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