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Move it or lose it is Claudia’s mantra

October 1, 2020

Mobility is critical to fend off injuries and to improve bone density, muscle strength, balance and stability, as exercise physiologist Claudia Callagher knows only too well.

She has been running weekly chair-based exercise classes at Currie Park for several years, and can see the benefits that come with regular attendance.

“I was approached by residents who knew of my work at Euroa Health and thought that it would be great to offer a regular exercise class in the village’s community room,” Claudia said.

She put together a routine which caters for all levels of mobility and includes seated and standing exercise using body weights, dumbbells and resistance bands.

‘Moving to music is a lot of fun and so is the chance to learn how to enjoy exercise with friends,” Claudia said

Claudia studied exercise physiology for her four-year degree at the end of which she knew she wanted to work with older people.

“My work is so rewarding because older people can see the benefits of exercise so quickly and it has such a positive effect on their ability to complete everyday tasks and hobbies such as gardening, housework and playing with grandkids.”

While Claudia has not been able to come to Currie Park during the pandemic, she knows that each resident in their own way is keeping on moving.

“One thing is very clear and that is that regular exercise is beneficial for mental health and being able to cope better with the difficult lockdowns,” she said.

“If you don’t move every day, pain and stiffness increases and people feel less capable of doing every day, usual activities.”

She also knows that many older people including Currie Park residents, want to keep their balance and strength up and to avoid falling.

Citing research, Claudia knows that falls are the leading causes of injury-related death and hospitalisation in people over 65 years.

“Approximately one third of older Australians above 65 years living in the community fall at least once a year, with a fifth of these older adults having multiple falls,” Claudia said.

These statistics show the significance for exercise interventions in the older age group, as far as Claudia is concerned.

Claudia has worked in Euroa for four years at Euroa Health. She grew up in Anglesea on the Surf Coast and moved when she landed the job in Euroa.

“I love working in Euroa so much because like Anglesea, it is a small community and everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming,” Claudia said.

When she is not working and when there is no pandemic, she plays netball or visits her family in Anglesea.  This year however most of her weekends have been spent growing, propagating and looking after my indoor plants – she has about 80.”

Some of Claudia’s tips for daily routines:

  1. Simple body weight exercises such as sit-to-stands, heel raises or mini squats;
  2. Use light weights or resistance bands to increase strength and prevent loss of bone density and joint degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.
  3. Balance exercises are also important to prevent falls and maintain stability.

And as she says, you are never too old to start!

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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