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Positive Ageing Week in full swing as Limerick seniors get up and active

Seniors exercising on equipment in public part

The annual event promotes positive physical and mental health among people aged 55 and older

Limerick Sports Partnership has organised events all over the Treaty City from October 1 – 7 to celebrate Positive Ageing Week 2023. The team are using the week to promote positive physical and mental health in people aged 55 and older.

Positive Ageing Week shines a spotlight on activities that take place all year round throughout Limerick, and it tackles misconceptions and stereotypes around ageing – namely that physical exercise is just for younger people.

Limerick Sports Partnership has teamed up with Limerick County Council and Age Friendly Limerick to get as many Shannonsiders as possible up, moving and, most importantly, having fun.

Limerick Sports Partnership has a diverse staff, including a Health Development Officer and an Inclusion Officer, who aim to make these activities accessible to everyone – including those with disabilities, mobility issues, arthritis, and people who are recovering from physical injuries or cancer.

Tracy Mahedy, the Senior Sports Development Officer for Limerick Sports Partnership, expressed the importance of making these events as inclusive as possible, saying: “We want people to know that we’re here and if they need a course or a programme, or they need advice, we can help them.

“This week makes people aware of the importance of putting on physical activity programmes for older people and highlighting the activities that people can get involved in.”

The aim is not just to improve the physical health of older people, but their mental health too: “A lot of our programmes, yes, there’s a physical aspect to it, but there’s also a social aspect. People go for a cup of tea after, they swap numbers, they feel like they can talk to other people.

“Someone might not see another person from one end of the week to the next, and this is their social hub, so it means a lot to people not just for their physical health, but their mental and emotional health as well.”

One programme currently ongoing is Park Life, a low-cost activity that people up to the age of 87 have signed up for.

The aim of Park Life is to get people active in their local parks without the use of any equipment aside from public amenities like benches and railings for strength and resistance training, and pathways for cardio training – whether you choose to walk or jog.

“It’s showing that physical activity can be accessible to all with very little cost,” Tracy said.

“An example of someone who participates in Park Life; they go down to Ballybunion every summer. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Ballybunion, but there’s a huge hill that you have to climb up from the beach to the town. Her way of measuring what Park Life meant to her was that for the first time in five years, she was able to walk up that hill without stopping on the seats for a rest.

“She just felt amazing, and she could see that impact of committing to an hour twice a week. It made a huge difference in her ability to move around on her holiday, and now she’s encouraging other people to go.”

There will be a trialling of new events during the week which includes rock climbing and rowing, both indoors and outdoors. Tracy said that despite being told that older people would be hesitant to sign up for rock climbing, multiple signed up in the first day which highlights the need to stop “sheltering older people away from their potential.”

Ms. Mahedy also said that younger people should help motivate the older people in their lives to get involved in the programmes, and to lead by example by getting involved in activities suited to their age categories.

More details about the events can be found on www.limericksports.ie but the core message from Limerick Sports Partnership is clear: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

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