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Language is no barrier to our online exercise classes

Written by Julianna Stewart, Communications Partner with integratedliving

Bridging the language barrier to help our seniors improve their health and wellbeing.

Language was no barrier when it came to supporting a group of seniors, who were keen to take part in our programs to improve their health and wellbeing but didn’t speak any English.

Thanks to the help of our Registered Nurse, Hong Toh she was able to step in and bring educational information and health care to our Mandarin-speaking clients in the ACT in the comfort of their own homes.

Fortunately for our new recruits, Hong Toh was able to translate the content, allowing them to participate fully in our programs. She delivered a Wellness for Independence Cardiac course virtually to eight clients, then a Memory Wellness program to seven clients and now has 18 clients participating in the Foot and Diabetes Wellness program! 

They loved it so much that they wanted to join our online Movement Classes. Hong Toh introduced the seniors to our Exercise Physiologists who facilitate these virtual exercise classes and she attends the Movement Classes too, so that she’s online to answer any questions.

Whilst the virtual exercise instructors speak English in the classes, the clients can easily follow along to the actions. They are even learning a few English words such as: up, down, sit, stand, in, out.

Exercise Physiologist Lee Salpietro said the first couple of times she ran the class, it was certainly a learning curve but now they’re all in a good rhythm.

 “Initially I found myself over-exaggerating the movements and using simple, repetitive words to teach safely and effectively. A ‘thumbs up’ is a universal sign that works well, as well as a smile and the participants reciprocate to keep the class fun and engaging,” she said.

“Now they wave ‘hello’ and always look happy and engaged. They’re very good at following my lead.”

 “I think it’s great that we can be inclusive – exercise is for everyone! Words aren’t the only way to teach, and I think it’s great that we can involve a wider population of people in the program through video and demonstration.” 

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Keeping active is important at any stage of life, yet possibly more so in our senior years. The well-known adage ‘use it or lose it’ becomes even truer as we get older because it takes our bodies longer to regain optimal levels of fitness, strength and mobility the older we get.  

Maintaining a commitment to appropriate levels of activity and exercise as we age can be vital to sustaining lifelong health and wellness, and assist us in recovering from falls or injuries. Indeed, it can even help prevent them if we’re lucky.  

The benefits of home exercises for seniors include improved strength, increased bone and organ protection, injury and fall prevention, heart health, weight control, better mobility and more. Exercise also brings feel-good endorphins, stress relief, anxiety reduction, increased clarity of mind and enhanced social connection.

Hong Toh said the online exercise classes were having a positive impact on the health of her new Mandarin-speaking clients. “They are more conscious of their dietary habits and lifestyle, and how these impact on their lives,” she said.  

If you’re keen to give it a try and would like to take part in a virtual Movement Class, contact integratedliving on 1300 782 896.

Watch our clients engaging in our Movement Classes from the comfort of their own homes:

Find out more about our Virtual Wellness Services