UBCO takes steps to create healthy lives for seniors

Walk n’ Talk is the brainchild of Dr. Charlotte Jones, associate professor of medicine with UBCO’s Southern Medical Program.

Marguerite Burke, 80, led a rather sedentary life until she heard about UBC Okanagan’s Walk n’ Talk for Your Life program.

Initially joining to get out and meet people, Burke soon realized the twice-weekly walks increased her activity level and her sense of well-being. As a bonus, she made new friends.

Walk n’ Talk is the brainchild of Dr. Charlotte Jones, associate professor of medicine with UBCO’s Southern Medical Program.

Jones’ team consists of UBC students from several disciplines, including the Southern Medical Program, nursing, human kinetics, social work and psychology.

The group hosts regular discussions about health concerns; and leads twice-weekly community walks.

Jones is the principal investigator of the research study that accompanies Walk n’ Talk.

Central Okanagan residents aged 55 and older are encouraged to participate in the program, which involves some physical activity.

Based on New Zealand’s Otago Exercise program, it’s designed specifically to prevent falls by introducing leg-muscle strengthening, balance exercises and a regular walking routine.

“It’s a valid program for seniors and we find if they include the walk—for about 30 minutes at least three times a week at their own pace and ability—it’s a great step in leading them to a healthy lifestyle,” said Jones.

“There are a lot of seniors in this area who live isolated lives and getting them involved in a program like this goes a long way to improve their quality of life.”

Burke lives independently with her husband but wanted to meet more like-minded people. She was hesitant at first, concerned about adopting a new exercise routine. She says Walk n’ Talk has certainly improved the quality of her life.

“This has helped me get back on my feet,” Burke said.

“At my age, I want to be able to continue to enjoy walks and being able to find new people to walk with has been a wonderful experience.”

Second-year UBC medical student Celine Akyurekli is one of several students helping with the interdisciplinary research project.

She assists in exercise programs, teaches education modules and is collecting data. She too enjoys her Thursday morning walks with seniors at the Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna.

“The social aspect of this is very important,” Akyurekli said. “We’re able to connect people together and they’re making the commitment to come out each week so they can visit while they enjoy their walk. It’s wonderful to see friendships develop.”

Registration is free for Walk n’ Talk. The next session takes place at Global Fitness (1574 Harvey Ave. in Kelowna) starting Jan. 7.

Participants begin the 10-week session with an interview and basic health testing (blood pressure, hearing, mobility function, grip strength test, walking pace), before and after the program.

It will be the fourth edition of Walk n’ Talk in the community and while it’s early to analyze the data, Jones is encouraged by preliminary numbers.

“We have had a few participants who were quite sedentary and withdrawn. They have come back to us and told us that their whole life has been turned around by the program,” said Jones.

To register for the next session, call project coordinator Chella Percy at 250-807-8042 or email chella.percy@ubc.ca.


Just Posted

Okanagan can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

Okanagan wineries shine in global chardonnay competition

Recognition for Kalala and Liquidity wineries at 2018 Chardonnay du Monde competition

Kelowna’s South Perimeter Road project to go ahead

Project to extend Gordon Drive doesn’t get enough signatures to keep it from moving ahead

Fleeing driver leaves behind severely damaged car

West Kelowna crash occurred at Highway 97 South junction

Dozens of impaired Kelowna drivers ticketed on St. Patrick’s Day

Kelowna RCMP stopped many vehicles for impaired driving during a one day blitz

Rainy week ahead for Okanagan and Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecast rain for the next three days, starting Tuesday afternoon

Attempted gun smuggler across the Osoyoos border sentenced

Alex Louie, who prefers the name Senk’lip, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read