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27 Jul 2021

Living life to the full

Shirley stays fit and active thanks to Selwyn Heights’ world-class exercise technology

Independent living resident, Shirley Grenfell, is a firm believer in the benefits of regular exercise in helping older people stay strong, mobile and self-sufficient, and advises her peers to ‘use it, or lose it’ when it comes to keeping fit.

Shirley has been a client of Selwyn Heights’ specialist Strength & Wellness studio in Hillsborough since it opened in March 2019. She credits her successful rehabilitation after a recent shoulder injury, her improved strength and balance, and the fact that she’s now able to get a better night’s sleep all to her tailored work-out sessions conducted under the guidance of Selwyn’s Clinical Exercise Physiologist Yifan (Allan) Zhang.

Each week, she completes a 50-minute programme in the studio on a range of ‘smart’ HUR (Helsinki University Research) exercise equipment that has been purposely designed to help older people gain muscle strength, improve balance, reduce the risk of falls and so enhance their overall quality of life. Her unique treatment plan has been specifically created by Allan to suit her personal goals, with the various repetitions on each set of the special age-friendly equipment programmed and directed automatically via smart card technology.   

Shirley combines the studio sessions with exercises she can do at home and has noticed a marked difference. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, she was particularly aware of how her overall fitness level and balance had improved, when she could walk further ‘and get back home again!’, and she generally finds her everyday activities and movements much easier. In fact, her upper body strength (arm and chest muscles) has increased by 60% since her clinical assessment when she first joined the studio, her mid-section strength (abdomen and back) has gone up by a whopping 225% and her lower body strength by 97%. As a result, she is much more confident in getting out and about and has encouraged her husband Geoff to join up.

Shirley has attended conventional gyms over the years and continues to enjoy the on-site Zumba classes at Selwyn Heights. However, as regards the benefits to be had from attending the Strength & Wellness studio, she says: ‘I’ve never experienced anything like this – I can’t speak too highly about it! People should definitely come along and give it a go, as they’ll notice a big difference – not only in their physical ability, but also with sleeping and generally feeling better about things. Long may I continue to use it!’

The Strength & Wellness studio is also available to older adults living in the local community, with a similar facility available at Selwyn Village, and is just one example of Selwyn’s community-focussed approach to improving older people’s wellbeing.

For further information or to book a pre-assessment, call our Health and Wellbeing team on 0800 30 1234 or contact us at selwynfoundation.org.nz/community.

Shirley works on her shoulder exercises with Allan’s expert guidance