Older people exercise dedicatedly at Silverfitness Wijchen

Movement teacher Dennis Hopman started to work at Silverfitness Wijchen four years ago. This fitness room is located in the care center Meander. Most people who come exercise there once or twice a week are aged 65 and over. The oldest of them is even 93 years old!

Progress can be seen in a few weeks

Dennis Hopman: “Everyone from Wijchen is welcome in our fitness room, but most people who exercise here are aged 65 and over and have physical disabilities. Some older people are also starting to develop dementia. They often live independently, sometimes with daily assistance.

Different easily-accessible systems are available in our fitness room, such as the SilverFit 3D, the SilverFit Newton with leg press and pulley, the Nustep and the SilverFit Mile with bike and treadmill. I create an exercise program for every person, which is tailored for them. I already notice their progress after a few weeks. Depending on their exercise program, they have improved their endurance or their strength. Their mobility also improves, they can now reach that high kitchen cupboard more easily, for example.”

The only moment of the week they move

“For many of them, their visit to Silverfitness Wijchen is the only moment of the week during which they actually move, even though keeping on moving is extremely important. Sitting still is the new smoking. Some of them may go for a walk once a week with a walker or another walking aid, but cycling outside for example is something that is no longer possible for a lot of them.

When older people come here for the first time, they need a period of adaptation.  Exercising used to be very different in the past. But I notice that when I explain to them what they have to do with a lot of enthusiasm, most people react with curiosity. After their first try, most of them become members of our fitness room.”

Can the treadmill stay on a bit longer?

Not everyone enjoys moving. The SilverFit systems participate in making exercising enjoyable for those who are not fond of it. Exercising with games and route films is much more fun than regular functional exercises. I think that it makes them exercise longer and come to the gym every week. Sometimes someone is enjoying walking on the treadmill and suddenly the route is coming to an end. But because they want to keep walking in that same place, I set the route again.

Playing with your grandchildren

“I use the SilverFit 3D with people who are less mobile and less active, and when I want them to exercise together. Games like the Fox, the Mole and the Bingo, are very popular. I witnessed a special moment once; a lady had to look after her granddaughter, so she brought her to the gym. I suggested they could play and exercise together. The lady was all radiant, you could see she was truly happy to be able to do sports with her granddaughter. That day, she did six or seven exercises, whereas she normally does two or three.

Getting satisfaction from sports

“People exercising at Silverfitness Wijchen enjoy moving. Their physical abilities improve and they become more self-confident. They feel good about themselves. They can now walk longer and faster, and they are more mobile. I like to see people improving themselves and getting satisfaction from sports. I get satisfaction from that as well.”


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