1 December 2023

Over 55 and stronger than ever: Murrumbidgee's older population are staying active and healthy

| Jarryd Rowley
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Participants at the Uranquinty gentle exercise classes

The Uranquinty gentle exercise classes attract between five and 20 people each week. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

The older you get, the harder it can become to find the time and energy to stay active and healthy.

However, thanks to the Murrumbidgee Local Health District, people over 55 have the opportunity to stay active, healthy and social at several gentle exercise classes run across the area.

With Tai Chi classes in North Wagga, park runs in Lake Albert, aqua aerobics classes in the city and more than 100 weekly classes in 40 towns in places such as Junee, Coolamon, The Rock and Uranquinty, there is a class for everyone regardless of their ability or level of fitness.

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Uranquinty Gentle Exercise Program volunteer leader Debbie Maher said the program was the perfect way for elderly people to stay active and socialise in a judgement-free space.

“We have people come from Wagga, The Rock and several areas … come out to the town hall here in Uranquinty for an hour on a Wednesday morning,” she said.

“As the leader of the Uranqunity program, I’m able to adjust the activities for people of all abilities. If people need to sit down or use chairs, they’re still able to take part, that’s what makes the program, not just here but across the region, so accessible and enjoyable.”

Ninety-nine-year-old Myree enjoying the class

Ninety-nine-year-old Myree (left) still comes out to enjoy the classes each Wednesday morning. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

One of the participants who regularly attends the Uranquinty classes is 99-year-old Myree McGrath, who enjoys getting out of the house and up and about each week.

“Myree is just one of the many people who just love getting active; she proves that age is just a number,” Ms Maher said.

“The group recently celebrated her birthday during one of the classes; it really shows how social and enjoyable it can be.”

One of the organisers of the North Wagga Tai Chi classes and a member of the University of the Third Age, Maree Rose, said she believed the program was a perfect blend of socialising for people over the age of 55 and staying healthy and active.

“Every week we come out to the North Wagga town hall and we’re instructed by Merrin Moran, who volunteers her time to teach us,” she said.

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“For me, I started taking the classes to help with some back pain that I was having; it helped make sure my back didn’t get any worse. I’ve made friends through the class and it gets me active in a way that isn’t strenuous.

“I’d encourage anyone over 55 to find a class that suits them and take part – there’s nothing better than being active and healthy.”

To learn more about the program or find a class near you be sure to visit their website here.

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