Regain your youthful vitality with tai chi, one move at a time
Joanne Wright and Terry Diachun have experience and passion when it comes to helping seniors. They both worked at the Lakeshore General Hospital in geriatrics, she as a recreational therapist and he as an orderly. They are also personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts, which is what spawned Age in Motion, a mobile gym for adults 55+.
“Most gyms are not catered to seniors. The machinery is intimidating to them, especially for those in between leaving the hospital and physiotherapy,” Wright says. “Transportation also poses a problem for them, as most of my clients have limited mobility or no longer have a driver’s license.”
Wright and Diachun are certified by the YMCA and Canadian Fitness Professionals, where they earned certificates as older adult fitness specialists. “You can’t just be a trainer,” Wright says. “For some of these people, we are the only touchstone they have. We don’t just walk in and out.”
Their specialties include working with specific problems such as Parkinson’s, arthritis and loss of mobility due to a stroke. “People just want to keep active and stay functional,” Wright says. “Privacy, autonomy, and mobility are important to everyone. You don’t know that until you’ve lost it.”
Wright and Diachun bring equipment for sessions in a large duffle bag – items such as weights, resistance bands and grip balls. The sessions are head-to-toe conditioning workouts or special needs training for improving bone density or mobility in a certain area of the body. “We work around pain,” she says, “not through it. These are completely individualized programs.”
The 50-minute sessions are two or three times a week. They include stretching, and endurance walking depending on the client’s level of mobility. “What we find is that our clients are a lot more capable than they ever thought they could be. If they’re really dedicated to change, we can make it happen.
“We’re all going to age. It’s up to us to decide how we’re going to do it.”