Improving older people’s strength and wellbeing
19 March 2019
The Selwyn Foundation brings world-leading strength and balance technology to New Zealand to improve older people’s strength and wellbeing
Auckland, New Zealand: The Selwyn Foundation has opened a unique Strength and Wellness studio with world-leading exercise equipment developed especially for older adults and designed to help improve seniors’ strength and overall wellbeing.
With this year’s Budget focusing on wellbeing, and the number of Kiwis aged 65+ due to reach more than one million by 2036, there is a greater need for preventative health services for older New Zealanders.
New Zealand charitable trust, The Selwyn Foundation, delivers a broad range of services through its Selwyn Community arm to help older people living in the wider community stay active, healthy and socially connected. This allows them to live well in their home environment for longer.
Opened on 18 March 2019 at Selwyn Heights village in Hillsborough, Selwyn’s new Strength and Wellness studio is the first in New Zealand to adopt the new generation of world-leading HUR (Helsinki University Research) equipment that aims to improve older people’s strength and physical ability, reduce the risk of falls and enhance overall quality of life.
John Ashley, Selwyn Community Chief Operating Officer, says: “The new studio is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and is especially suitable for older people who’ve never participated in a regular or organised exercise session. The innovative equipment uses technology that’s purposely designed for age-friendly exercising, and allows people to exercise gently and safely at their own pace and ability, in order to gain muscle strength and improve balance. With exercise programmes tailored to each user’s specific needs, it’s ideal for strength training, medical fitness and rehabilitation.
“Progressive resistance and balance training are proven to reduce the risk of falls by 55 per cent in our older communities, so this equipment can have a real, positive impact on health outcomes, including mental health. Having a lower risk of falls leads to increased independence and more confidence in getting out and about, so enriching older people’s general quality of life.
“The HUR equipment identifies issues with people’s gait and balance, so we can address any areas of weakness and adjust exercise plans to each person’s unique needs. Because it uses air resistance, there’s also no need to manage changing weights or tricky pins.”
The new studio is just the latest development in Selwyn’s community-focussed approach to improving older people’s wellbeing. It is available to older adults living in the local community, following an individual assessment by the studio’s onsite Clinical Exercise Physiologist as to their suitability for the programme, and access is by appointment only.
John Ashley says participants in Selwyn’s community ‘Forever Young’ strength and balance programmes, which aim to build strength and conditioning, have tested the HUR equipment and are fans of its benefits for overall wellness.
HUR Finland CEO, Mats Manderbacka, visited New Zealand for the official launch. “We’ve developed this technology over 30 years in close co-operation with leading researchers in biomechanics and exercise physiology. We believe in helping improve the quality of life for older people and are delighted that our latest innovations will now be benefiting senior New Zealanders.”