The Fitness and Mobility Exercise program, which helps stroke victims recover their mobility, is starting in Kelowna. - Contributed

New Kelowna fitness program helps those who have had a stroke recover mobility

The Fitness and Mobility Exercise program starts this month at the Parkinson Recreation Centre

A new program in Kelowna will help those who have had a stroke recover their mobility and decrease the risk of reinjury.

The new exercise program, starting Nov. 14 at the Parkinson Recreation Centre, will enable stroke victims to develop their overall fitness, balance, strength and mobility. Marie-Louise Bird, with the GF Strong Rehabilitation Research Centre, said it will be the first of its kind in Kelowna.

The Fitness and Mobility Exercise program, based out of Vancouver, was developed at GF Strong Rehab Centre in collaboration with UBC. The main goal of the program is to reduce falls and the chances of having another stroke.

“There was just an amazing cascade of interest from the local people in Kelowna,” Bird said. “There are lots of different programs at the community centre, but nothing for people after a stroke.”

READ MORE: Women at higher risk of stroke than men: research

The GF Strong Rehabilitation Research Centre group spent a day of training with fitness instructors and physiotherapists so they will be able to continue the program.

“That’s their idea, to build local capacity to build the program in an ongoing away,” Bird said.

She said more recreation centres are expanding their reach with these types of programs.

“Some of the community centres are getting really interested in people that have preexisting conditions… they’re really getting on board with (the fact) that they have a role to play with people who are not just healthy but for those who have some special conditions as well.”

READ MORE: B.C. announces $1.5M to help people detect signs of stroke

The program has been running for more than a year in Vancouver and there’s also one operating on Vancouver Island, she said. There’s also been interest on a national level.

According to the UBC research, both physical and mental health can improve with the right type of exercise.

For more information call Jenny at the recreation centre at 250-469-8800. Cost is $128 for the two-month series. Sessions are twice a week.

Program requirements ask that people can stand for at least five minutes and walk 10 metres with or without assistance.

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