RAISING eight children was enough to keep Mary Cairns active throughout her life. Now, at the age of 91, she uses the Active at Home 12-week exercise program to improve her balance and stay nimble.
Mary is about to complete her first 12-week program and is keen to sign up for her second. She has found that the supervised 30-minute sessions, held in her home each week, have helped improve her balance.
And, she says proudly, her daughter has noticed that she is walking a lot better too.
Exercise improves strength and balance
An exercise program had never really been part of Mary’s life but, as she now lives alone, she recognised the need stay mobile and as independent as possible.
“I was more or less an indoor person and not in the habit of exercising. I had eight children to run around after, so not much time to think about it,” she says. “I feel it’s going really well.”
Of the eight strength and balance exercises aimed at improving walking speed, balance and general mobility, Mary likes the leg extensions best, but also finds using an elastic ‘theraband’ helps with her stiff shoulder.
“I can’t do the ones against the wall because I have a frozen shoulder and I don’t really like standing on tip toes,” she says. “But I feel much better for doing the course. It gets me out of bed in the morning.”
Although she leads a busy life and spends a lot of time with her daughter, Mary enjoys spending extra time with her Centacare support worker, who takes her through her personalised program every Friday morning.
Mary was introduced to Active at Home through Centacare Melody Street hub, where she enjoys social connection and a range of activities on Mondays and Wednesdays. She also participates in a group balance class at the hub on Wednesdays.
When Centacare Service Delivery Manager Bernadine Webster gave Mary some information on the program and showed her a video clip explaining what it was about, Mary only had one decision to make – when she could fit it into her busy week!
Mary helps with the housework on Tuesdays, and on Thursdays goes to the hairdresser, supermarket and lunch. This left Friday morning for her exercise program.
She hasn’t looked back since joining Active at Home and has found the exercises complement her Wednesday balance class. After all, keeping active is key to keeping her independence.
“I’d be lost if I couldn’t use my legs,” she says. “As long as I stay at the level I’m at now, I’m happy.”