Exercise and activity key for seniors

[templatic_contentbox type=”normal” title=”The balance segment of a typical seniors’ fitness class at the CCAA”] (left to right): Karen Tarkowski (participant), Mary-Anne Alexander (participant), Mary Absolon (participant), Vicki Noble (participant), Grace Wren (participant), Tedd Tarkowski (participant), Nathan Garber (participant), Mary Lou Douglas-Dubois (volunteer), Giulia Scarponi (International Student – Italy), Mary Anne McCoy (Certified SFIC Instructor), Ruth Fric (participant) [/templatic_contentbox]


If you’re looking for evidence of the benefits of exercise for older adults, there’s no need to go any further than the hundreds of Londoners from their late 50s to their mid-90s who go through their paces every week at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA).

Part of Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and situated across Richmond St. from the main campus, the centre runs combined fitness classes, personal training, and strength and dynamic balance training. The programs are open to the public, and anyone can join after completing a fitness assessment.

The CCAA is unique in Canada, according to Executive Director Clara Fitzgerald.

“We promote physical activity, exercise, and well-being for older adults through a combination of exercise programs, basic and applied research, educational resources, and training,” Fitzgerald says.

Beyond fitness classes, the CCAA is a national leader in current research and program development for improved physical activity and healthy aging, offering leadership training across Canada. More than 500 individuals are certified through CCAA as Seniors’ Fitness Instructors, and interest in the programs is spreading. This year alone, two groups of students from the University of Verona, Italy have taken part in intensive training at the centre, consisting of three courses, four weeks of practical experience, certification, and the invaluable opportunity to interact with participants at the centre – something the students have noted is not readily available to them elsewhere.

“The interactive lessons led us deep into the comprehension of group physical activity classes,” says student Alessandro Cavallo. Added classmate Giulia Scarponi: “The theory lessons were interactive, and the practical ones were fun and useful for me – and for the seniors too!”

Most importantly, the benefits realized by participants are easy to see – and hear – in the gym, the weight room, and throughout the CCAA.

For more information about CCAA’s programs, visit the website: or call 519-661-1603.

Submitted by the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging