More than a quarter of older adults experience a fall each year, and one out of five falls will result in serious injuries like broken bones or head trauma, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These types of injuries create serious barriers to everyday activities, and once a first fall occurs, the risk of falling again doubles.
The good news is you can learn techniques and exercises to avoid falling through Vivalon’s new Body Strength and Balance program, which includes evidence-based workshops like Bingocize and Matter of Balance.
This past fall, dozens of folks joined the very first series of Bingocize, which was designed by Western Kentucky University. Combining exercise and bingo, participants can improve their lower and upper body strength, gait, balance, and range of motion while enjoying a fun and social game.
“What surprised me was how fun it was to lead the class,” says Maeve Murphy, a Program Coordinator at Vivalon. “The most rewarding part is seeing them enjoying themselves. There’s lots of smiles, and they get into the exercises, laugh about bingo, and share jokes. There’s a nice energy in the room.”
In each class, they play a few rounds of bingo and then pause for exercises in between. “The exercises progress over the course of the 10 weeks, so we start by doing exercises for 30 seconds and then work our way up to a minute,” says Maeve.
So far, the program has helped regular participants achieve their exercise goals, with most reporting they have more energy, feel more flexible, and are more sure-footed. One gentleman even told Maeve that he had joined a gym as a result of the class.
“I enjoyed every bit of it,” says Joanne, who attended all 20 classes of the pilot. “It’s physical, and you get to meet new people, plus Maeve was a great instructor. My favorite part was the exercise; we did all kinds, from just hand exercises to balance. I’m told the next session will focus more on balance. I will be 83 in six months, so I want to stay on my feet!”
On January 9, another 10-week workshop begins, with an introductory class on January 4, officially launching our Body Strength and Balance program. “This version will work similarly to the pilot workshop,” says Maeve. “We will do some bingo and then some exercises and there will also be a question-and-answer element focused on avoiding falls.”
In addition to Bingocize, coming soon to Vivalon is a program called A Matter of Balance, which is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity level to improve falls management. Stay tuned for more details on these new offerings!
Call 415-456-9062 to register for Bingocize today!
View our class schedule here.
Learn more about Body Strength and Balance here.
Thank you to Alignment Health, Vivalon’s Premier Healthy Aging Sponsor, for supporting this program.
Funding for this program is made available, at least in part, by the Marin County Area Agency on Aging.