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Help – I can’t get off the toilet!

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Why do ageing adults end up in assisted-living facilities? It’s right there in the title: it comes down to not being able to get up off the toilet. It may sound insensitive, but it’s a very real thing.

More broadly, the reason ageing adults go to assisted-living facilities is loss of independence. As adults age, basic movement becomes much more difficult. People retire, they are less active, and they have fewer reasons to get up and out of the house. So they sit all day, and their muscles atrophy.

That’s why it’s so important to stay active as we age. We need to find or stick to an exercise routine to preserve our independence for as long as possible - not just for our own sakes, but also so our children won’t have to take care of us, or pay someone else to.

The exercise needs of the ageing population vary by degree, not kind. What is standing up from the toilet? An air squat. What happens when someone falls and gets back up? An 'Up-Down'. How does shopping get brought in from the car? With a farmer's carry.

Ageing adult athletes may not be breaking gym records - even though we have a few of our masters cohort deadlifting over 100kg!, but they can certainly perform modified versions of everything the rest of the class is doing - and a good coach will know how to guide them. Intensity is relative for every athlete in the gym, while range of motion and movement goals stay the same.

Strength training is also critical for ageing adults because it helps prevent and reverse osteoporosis (brittle bones). Even minor slips and falls often result in broken bones in ageing men and women with low bone density. Lifting heavy objects increases that bone density and reduces risk of injury.

Group fitness classes may or may not be appropriate for all ageing adults. At Activate, we have several 55-plus-year-old athletes, and they do great in regular classes. Others choose to start with private sessions, and more still opt for our very successful Activate Masters programme. The point is that they get or remain active.

I am not an elite athlete. I am not going to win any competitions or break any records. I joke about it all the time, but that’s not why I work out. I work out every day so that I can stay out of a nursing home and stay robust for the span of my lifetime. As the population of Ireland ages faster than the rest of the world (we will soon have one of the oldest populations in Europe), that is a noble enough goal for us all.

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Top awards for innovative students

By Michelle Crean Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards. The five […]

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney students proved that their projects can make a positive impact after being honoured at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Ireland (YSI) Awards.

The five members of ‘Operation Red’ in St Brigid’s Secondary School were celebrating this week after receiving a national Bronze Award for their project which is raising awareness about the lack of knowledge surrounding menstrual disorders. Their goal is to encourage open discussion on these issues, so no woman ever feels alone. The team will receive a prize bursary of €750, which can be put towards developing their idea and increasing the impact of their innovation.

Young Social Innovators is a non-profit organisation that believes in the power of youth. Its vision is to empower, equip and inspire young people to change the world for good. The girls’ project was one of 34 shortlisted from over 400 YSI groups around Ireland.

“As part of our project we’re in the process of developing resources for the SPHE classes in our school,” Transition Year student Anna Cashman told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We’ll try it here as a pilot project and branch out to other schools.”

She added that plans so far include educating students by putting an information booklet together using HSE and NHS advice.

“It’s important to have the right information as it’s a very under researched issue. We have had a positive response to it.”

Cait Fitzgerald Healy from YSI arrived to the school as a surprise to the group and presented the girls with their trophy towards the end of the online ceremony. There was huge excitement all round! Teacher and mentor Catherine O’Donoghue also received the ‘Let them Shine’ award for her involvement with YSI over the last five years.

MAKE OUR WORLD SAFER AWARD

Picking up the ‘Make Our World Safer Award’, a team from St Brendan’s College was recognised for its ‘One Punch Can Kill’ project, which aims to combat toxic masculinity and raise awareness amongst young men of the seriousness of ‘one punch attacks’.

When researching the issue, the team found that many perpetrators rarely reoffend and the percentage of male-on-male violence in society is extremely high. The group examined the route cause of the issue, which stems from a variety of factors, and wanted to raise awareness that spontaneous and random ‘one punch attacks’ can have serious and life-changing consequences.

Amongst its many actions, the team embarked on media outreach, designed and delivered student workshops, created a poster campaign, held an Anti Violence Week and is currently working on a children’s book in an effort to promote the important message that ‘One Punch Can Kill’.

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Pres footballers are in seventh heaven

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The St Brigid’s Presentation Second Year footballers were crowned County Junior B champions on Friday last following a superb seven-goal victory over Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the Ballymac sunshine.

The girls hit the ground running, bagging two quick goals from the boots of Lily O’Shaughnessy and Niamh Cantillon.

The Pres defence was solid and dogged throughout and managed to keep Mounthawk from breaching their goal for the duration. Abby Cronin scored three goals and a point to torment the oppostion and Niamh Cantillon scored a second goal plus a point to keep the Killarney school well in front.

Further scores from Muireann Healy and a final goal from Lara O’Neill gave us a final score of 7-4 to 0-11.

It was an excellent performance from the entire team, including the substitutes who all played their part. Captain Eve Culhane proudly accepted the cup on behalf of the team, and St Brigid’s, at the end of the game and joyous celebrations followed.

Congratulations to all the players and to their trainers: Mr Counihan, Ms Healy and Ms Brosnan.

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