When Maureen Leong, a retired nurse and midwife couldn’t open a jar of jam for her morning toast she decided she needed to do something else to complement the strength and balance she had gained over many years practicing Tai Chi to ensure daily tasks were achievable.
It was time for a visit to UniRec. Beginning with the LifeFit programme, dedicated for seniors, she gradually built up her upper body strength with weights based resistance training.
Soon after, she discovered the fun and social ‘Sport 4 Seniors’ class, a unique environment where members learn new skills and play a variety of popular sports such as hockey and badminton alongside instructor Max Weinberg, who modifies them into user friendly games for the 60+.
It’s here that Maureen gets her blood pumping with a solid cardio workout and best of all, she managed to drag along her husband, Arthur and they now both regularly attend classes together.
Now both in their early 80s, sport and fitness has always been part of the couple’s lifestyle. Arthur represented New Zealand in Football in his 20s and went on to become a PE teacher at Fairfield College.
“UniRec’s Sport 4 Seniors class is great. Max modifies the activities to suit older people like us. We go at a moderate pace so that people with a range of fitness levels can cope. If anyone wants to take a break, they can. We play tennis, volleyball, indoor hockey, badminton and soccer. It’s really fun with a big group of us all there - usually there are over a dozen of us,” Maureen says.
Both enjoy the strong social element of the Sport 4 Seniors class and it’s partly why they come along. They encourage others to join them and enjoy a fun, playful style of exercise. The couple’s mantra is ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’.
“We’re keen to maintain a certain level of health. It’s admirable that everyone who comes along has that top of mind. We’re not all fit and some aren’t too comfortable walking, but we get around because we like being involved, having fun together, getting our heart rates up and working up a sweat,” Maureen says.
The UniRec LifeFit programme is designed for seniors, people with green prescriptions or medical conditions and others needing additional support and encouragement to be active. The programme offers enjoyable, social and achievable exercise sessions that focus upon resistance and cardiovascular training at a light and manageable pace.
Sport 4 Seniors (which is managed in conjunction with Sport Waikato) is part of the LifeFit programme and provides an opportunity for participants to learn new skills and play a variety of sports. Each session is supervised by knowledgeable and qualified staff so members are in safe hands when they’re working out.