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AnglicareSA’s Healthy Hearts program is helping to keep our older customers active, strong, and on track to continue living happy and healthy lives.

With sessions held at our Playford and Westbourne Park Health and Wellness clinics each week, AnglicareSA Exercise Physiologist Amanda Harris said Healthy Hearts participants relished the opportunity to push themselves with every workout.

“Everyone who joins this program has a positive way of thinking about their health and exercise, which motivates other members of the group to achieve their exercise goals too,” Amanda said.

“I envy this group and want to be like them when I am older. They have the health and fitness you want at their age.”

The program, run in small groups of people aged over 65 years, is a circuit-based workout focused on strengthening cardiovascular health, endurance, and balance.

The higher tempo movement helps participants meet the levels of exercise recommended to manage medical conditions, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, in a supervised environment.

The most recent cycle of the program focused on new literature featured in the 2023 British Medical Journal about exercise (specifically isometric exercise) and hypertension with pre- and post-blood pressure readings of Healthy Hearts participants reflecting some of the theories.

Amanda said age did not have to be a barrier to how far older people could push themselves.

“Some people think that being older means they have reduced ability. But I’ve been working with older adults for a decade, and it never ceases to amaze me what level they can progress towards,” she said.

“This program is about determining what they can do safely and helping them improve their health and wellbeing.”

The success and results of Healthy Hearts is bolstered by introducing a new program of exercises every 12 weeks.

“By being able to keep the exercises fresh and fun with regular rotation, participants are engaging different muscle groups each time and enhancing their improvements and ongoing heart health,” she said.

It has proven to be an approach that attendees like Diane love about Healthy Hearts.

“I do this exercise program to improve my brain and body health and for relaxation. It’s all about keeping every part of my body as fit and healthy as it can be,” Diane said.

Despite her active lifestyle, a fall six years ago led to her being referred to AnglicareSA’s Health and Wellness Services.

“Doctors who assessed me after the fall didn’t think I needed to be referred elsewhere because they said I was doing enough exercise between walking and aqua aerobics, but I said I would like to do more to improve my overall health,” Diane said.

Diane now attends Healthy Hearts at AnglicareSA’s Playford clinic twice a week and said it had done wonders for her overall health.

“This exercise program is making my body stronger. I’m not strong like I was 20 years ago, but I can better catch myself from falling over,” Diane said.

“Exercise is integral to everything.”

Healthy Hearts is currently held at the Playford clinic on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9am, while sessions are held at Westbourne Park on Wednesdays at 9am.

To find out more about all of AnglicareSA’s Health and Wellness services across metropolitan Adelaide, click here.

When a Halloween nightmare left Jackie, 85, with a broken hip, she turned to AnglicareSA’s allied health team at Westbourne Park to help her get back on her feet – and now she’s ready to dance.

A former long-time volunteer at the Westbourne Park Residential Aged Care site, Jackie spent almost a decade interacting with the residents and supporting the efforts of staff.

But a fall last year that resulted in an initial rehabilitation period at Flinders Medical Centre saw Jackie accessing services with our Health and Wellbeing program.

“When I had my fall it was Halloween night,” Jackie recalls. “I had been in the shower, and I had big dish of lollies for children who were trick or treating.”

“I heard the doorbell ring and I said ‘I’m coming, I’m coming’ – and down I went.

“That was about five o’clock in the afternoon and then I wasn’t found until about seven next morning.”

Her nightmare behind her, Jackie says her recovery and rehabilitation with the support of AnglicareSA at her side has been nothing short of brilliant, particularly physiotherapy.

“It’s the way they treat you, the way they greet you, and the way they monitor you,” Jackie says.

“It’s also the way they encourage you to reach your goals and tell you just to keep aiming for your goal – they don’t set the goal, you’re the one who sets the goal.

“We have wonderful gym equipment, and everything is for a reason you know, for instance I wouldn’t do exercises that someone with a knee replacement does – they’re just a great team.”

I’ve got to work on my balance, it’s not very good, but you have to move your hips with the Jerusalema and I can’t whip my hips and my feet together, but it’s a crazy, lovely, wonderful, and colourful dance.

With the help of AnglicareSA Jackie is regaining and maintaining her mobility, freedom, and independence.

These are all things that mean the world to her.

“Everything, everything. If they took my feet away, or if I couldn’t walk anymore it would be terrible.

“Not as bad as taking my mouth away,” Jackie adds with a grin, “but not my legs or my feet, I’ve got so much to do that I just can’t not do these things.”

Now back on her feet and ready to take on the world, Jackie has a particular dance in mind that she’d like to perfect – an online YouTube sensation being filmed around the world by young and old call the Jerusalema.

“It’s alive, it’s music, it’s colour and you just feel good. I’m just hoping I can do it – no, I will do it!

“I’ve got to work on my balance, it’s not very good, but you have to move your hips with the Jerusalema and I can’t whip my hips and my feet together, but it’s a crazy, lovely, wonderful, and colourful dance.”

Colourful is just one way to describe Jackie, a mother of four, grandmother to four and great-grandmother to three, who marks every decade milestone birthday with something a little out of the ordinary.

“I think that if I make the zero birthdays, I’m so lucky and I’ve had birthday parties all the way through,” Jackie says with her trademark spark in her eye.

“I’ve been in the divorce courts for my fortieth, but I’ve also jumped out of a plane (tandem sky dive), I’ve been up in a hot air balloon, and I’ve been to Kangaroo Island for dinner.

“For my 90th I plan to party, I’m going to have a drag queen party and dance to ABBA.”

Learn more about AnglicareSA’s Health and Wellness Services.