The gym was opened by Port Adelaide legend John Cahill last week, who spoke about the benefits of keeping fit as we age.
Mr Cahill says while he’s always kept fit playing and coaching football, it wasn’t until he studied sports science at university that he discovered just how beneficial exercise could be for older people.
“Around Australia, 20,000 people are hosptialised every year by falling over and doing a knee or a hip,” he says.
“Bone density is important, and if you do a little bit of work, you’ll gain some strength and you won’t fall over.”
Mr Cahill explains that exercise keeps your cholesterol down, your blood pressure down, reduces anxiety and can hold back cognitive decline and age-related injuries.
“All you have to do is get your heart rate up and use some light weights. Your heart will work better, your blood will circulate better, you’ll be more alert, you’ll be healthier. It’s as easy as that,” he adds.
“It has profound implications on how we live, we learn and we age.”
Set in a purpose-built facility, the new gym includes a range of new equipment such as a recumbent stepper and recumbent bike, weights machine, free weights, therabands, tubes and chi balls.
ACH Group trainer Ruth Walwyn says the gym will encourage people of all levels of ability to stay active.
“We have cardio equipment that you would find in other commercial gyms but they have more advanced settings for people with different physical restrictions such as hip pain, knee pain and back injuries.
“There is also a range of strength and balance equipment to help people stay active and improve their core strength and flexibility,” Ms Walwyn explains.
The gym is the first of its kind to be built in Yankalilla and there are plans to make the space available for community exercise classes in future.
Yankalilla District Council Mayor Glen Rowlands says the gym will be a welcome addition to the area. “The addition of the new gym closely aligns with our strategic plan goal, that in planning for vibrant communities we will support an active and healthy lifestyle by spaces and places for people.”
According to Yankalilla Centre Senior Manager Trish Bowie the new gym will help residents embrace ACH Group’s ‘Healthy Ageing’ approach.
“Research around the world has shown that people who are active and socially connected are happier and have a better sense of wellbeing and overall health, regardless of age or health status,” she says.
“All our residential living homes make it as easy as possible for people to choose to be active, remain connected and engaged every day.”