Active seniors show they have the moves to keep fit in
new URI video series SeniorCise program begins airing on Cox Cable 3 this
KINGSTON, R.I., -- January 6, 2000 -- Move over Jane Fonda. Step aside
Make room for Ruth Miller, Evelyn Vanesse, Mary LaMake and Jeannette
McElroy, all senior exercise stars from Warwick, in a series of new
videos produced by the University of Rhode Island Health Promotion Partnership
Aging Team. Starting this week and running through January, the series airs
on Cox Cable Channel 3 Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and Fridays at 9 a.m. and
The SeniorCise program is designed to help seniors find "a path
to health, independence and well-being."
Developed in collaboration with the Rhode Island Prevention Coalition,
the three videos feature physically active seniors in group exercise settings
guided by experts.
Sandra Saunders, URI assistant professor of dental hygiene and director
of and narrator of the SeniorCise project, said the program is designed
for group use in senior centers or individual use. Now it's also available
on Cox Cable 3.
Vanesse, one of the seniors featured on the tapes, is a believer in their
effectiveness. "I feel much better," she says in the taped interview.
LaMake agrees, saying, "It's very good for the legs, and I enjoy
the girls in the group."
Barbara Cole adds: "I love to exercise. It helps my arthritis very
much... It gives me a lift. After I do it twice a day in my apartment, it
helps my legs, my breathing."
The tapes are a result of a two-year project run by URI. With a goal
of developing a community model to increase physical activity among seniors,
URI faculty and students from nursing, pharmacy, food science and nutrition
and other disciplines worked together as an interdisciplinary team. As part
of the project, intensive group exercise programs were piloted at five senior
centers, Dexter Manor in Providence; Sparrows Point I in Warwick;
Peace Dale House in Peace Dale; Anthony House, in Portsmouth;
Meadowbrook Terrace in Warwick.
Student and peer volunteers served as exercise leaders and helped design
and test the SeniorCise program, which also involves educational posters
and booklets to promote better health through increased physical activity.
"This is the vision of the partnership concept in action-faculty
and students working together with seniors to make lives better," said
Phillip G. Clark, URI professor of gerontology and director of the URI Program
in Gerontology and Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center.
West Warwick's Faith Lees, a URI graduate student in human development
with a concentration in gerontology, was an instructor for the series. She
said it was difficult to get seniors motivated at first, "but as time
went on, they could see that exercise was very beneficial, not only for
physical well-being but also for social well-being. People would remark
on how they lived in same building for 18 years and didn't know each other,"
Many of the seniors Lees met are continuing the program and have bought
their own weights. "Personally, I found it very rewarding. We became
friends and they became very interested in me," said the URI student.
"Many said they lost weight, slept better and were more flexible."
"This program had an impact on people, but our research showed we
need more customized interventions to help people remain committed to exercise
programs," Clark said, noting the video project laid the foundation
for a $2.8 million federal study being headed by Clark and URI in East
Providence. The study will be based on a successful behavior change
model developed at URI by Professor James Prochaska to help individuals
lead healthier lives.
Carol Garber, an exercise physiologist with The Memorial Hospital of
Rhode Island, in Pawtucket, and the vice chair of the Rhode Island
Prevention Coalition, said more than 60 percent of American older adults
don't get enough physical activity to maintain good health. "SeniorCise
is a proven model to help seniors stay well," she said. "Health
benefits of regular physical activity are clear: regular exercise helps
maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling
and fracturing bones. In addition, exercise helps reduce the risk of dying
from coronary health disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon
cancer and diabetes."
Each 30-minute SeniorCise video outlines a component of a community-based
physical activity program. Tape 1 provides an overview of the series and
a short exercise session; Tape 2 features seated exercises at Meadowbrook
Terrace and Tape 3 features standing exercises at Sparrows Point I. In addition
to the broadcasts, each tape is available at $15. Checks should be made
out to the University of Rhode Island and sent to: the Geriatric Education
Center, White Hall, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I. 02881.
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116