Kind Words from Facebook Fan Barbara S. February 27, 2019 09:46

Kind Words from Facebook Fan Barbara S.

I've been using the Stronger Seniors videos since 2013 in peer-led exercise classes at our town hall in Richford, NY. They have been very popular with our exercisers, who range in age from mid-50s to mid-80s. I appreciate Anne Pringle Burnell's coaching style and respectful attitude, especially after reviewing another DVD where the instructor was condescending to the elderly demonstrator (i.e. "Isn't she cute!"). - Barbara S.


Chair Exercise for Seniors

The Benefits of Social Activities for Seniors February 18, 2019 18:02

Activities to Keep You Engaged and Socially Active

Studies show that seniors who stay socially active and engaged experience a variety of benefits- staying connected with others helps give you a sense of purpose and a true sense of belonging.

Senior Exercise Video


About Anne Pringle Burnell February 1, 2018 15:48 2 Comments

Anne Pringle Burnell created and developed the Stronger Seniors™ Chair Exercise DVD Video Programs for older adults and people with disabilities, injuries, or chronic conditions.  

Do You Have an Exercise Buddy? August 28, 2017 08:37

Seniors program shows the benefits of socializing and exercise....

A seniors program that combines exercise and socializing for people in the early stages of dementia and their care partners is taking place weekly at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre.

Minds in Motion is currently being offered as part of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. First Link dementia support to create an opportunity for people with dementia and their care partners to connect with others, make new friends and have fun.

Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise

First started in Victoria in 2009, the program made its way to Maple Ridge a year and a half ago.  The reason it was started, explained Kate Turnbull, Minds in Motion coordinator with the Alzheimer Society of B.C., is that there was a gap in programming for people with dementia.

“There is lots of programming that is for the person with dementia and there is programming for care givers. But not a lot that brings both together. That was the big thing,” said Turnbull.

“It’s evolved over time to be more specifically for people in the early stages of dementia,” she said.

The program starts off with 45 minutes of light exercise followed by another 45 minutes of social time.

Lori Briggs, B.C. Parks and Recreation Association supervisor of fitness leaders, heads up the fitness portion.

Briggs has specialized in seniors fitness for the last 35 years and has worked with a variety of groups including people with Parkinson’s, or stroke recovery and Osteofit.

For Minds in Motion, the exercises that are not any different than a normal seniors fitness class, it is Briggs’ patience and knowledge of dementia that makes the class unique.

If a person with dementia is getting confused she may stop the exercise early, if she sees someone getting frustrated or not being able to understand a movement, she will switch to another exercise.

Briggs has been trained by the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to recognize symptoms of dementia. She knows how to introduce exercises and is more aware about what might fluster somebody or make them more agitated.

If Briggs sees somebody kind of daydreaming and in their own zone she will say their name and suggest they try the activity being performed. If somebody doesn’t change legs or arms when they are doing an exercise she will make a suggestion that they try the other leg and if they don’t she moves on. If an activity is frustrating for an individual she will change the exercise completely for the whole group.

“I never say right or left I just say let’s take our leg and whatever leg they pick up and start with is fine with me,” said Briggs in a soft, calm voice, adding that the most important thing is that the participants feel successful.

“We want them to feel less stressed and just feel like they are part of the group and accepted. That is really important,” she continued.

Another thing Briggs does to make the participants feel comfortable is she always lets them know that if they are having a good day they can do whatever they can and if they are having an off day that it’s okay to stop when ever they want.

“It makes them feel like I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to,” said Briggs.

Briggs works the muscles that strengthen the core of an individual.

“What I try to teach are exercises that are designed to improve quality of life as well as balance and agility. Which is preventing falls and those kind of things,” she explained.

She teaches both sitting standing exercises and uses resistance bands and different sized balls for agility games such as throwing them up in the air and catching them or passing a ball around a circle.

During social time participants play a variety of games like Jenga, where you remove blocks from a tower without it falling over, the card game UNO, trivia and sometimes even ping pong.

Sometimes the games are modified slightly if there are persons in the group that are finding the games too challenging.

“Again with social time it is really about making that person feel successful, making them feel like a part of the group,” said Turnbull.

”In UNO there are all sorts of cards that do different things other than just the numbers and the colours. If I have somebody who is really struggling I will take those cards out so the game is more simplified,” she said.

Turnbull will also play a reminiscent activity with the group where she will ask them if, for example, they remember a time without car seats.

”For people with dementia the memories that normally go first are the more short term memories whereas they tend to keep their long term memory stuff from when they were kids longer,” said Turnbull.

“So those reminiscent games they tend to enjoy them because they have those memories from when their kids were young or from when they were kids themselves,” she said.

One of the great things about this program is everyone has training in how to deal with people who have dementia.

Also, Turnbull added, the care partner is also connecting with people in the same situation as themselves.

”There is a feeling of support. Even though it is not a support group, they are getting a bit of support from having other people around them,” said Turnbull.

Even if a participant does not want to participate in the activities they are also welcome to enjoy the refreshments and chat with other people.

Briggs always stays until the very end of the class even though she could leave after the exercise portion.

”I find it’s important for me so that I have that connection with them as well because I think it’s part of knowing the person’s past. I just enjoy it,” she said.

Minds in Motion takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon every Friday except for holidays at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, 12150 224 Street.

Eating well, staying Active and Mental Exercises Can Reverse Physical Frailty in Seniors June 21, 2017 12:26

The important message from our studies is that frailty is not an inevitable part of aging. There is much that older people can do for themselves to avoid becoming frail and disabled, so it is vital that they pay attention to good quality diet and nutrition, engage in physical exercise, 

11 Healthy Hobbies for Seniors June 17, 2016 15:06

From our friends at 'A Place for Mom'

We already know that a healthy lifestyle is a major factor in living a long life; but new studies show that having hobbies for seniors and staying socially active are equally important.

It has long been known that a nutritious diet, exercise and positive health choices all contribute to helping seniors feel more energetic. In fact, emerging research into longevity and good quality of life indicates that mental and social activity are just as critical as physical activity when it comes to healthy aging. Hobbies, leisure activities, and a rich social network are factors that correlate with living longer and avoiding isolation.

Healthy Hobbies for Seniors

Here are 11 healthy hobbies your aging loved one might want to consider:

1. Creating Art / Doing Crafts

More than providing something fun and artistic to stimulate the brain, creating art and doing crafts can also be soothing and cathartic. From painting, sculpting and scrapbooking to photographing, knitting or sewing — art is one of the best activities seniors can practice. Even better, art can also be done as a social activity with friends or family, so that mingling happens while stimulating the mind and soul. Engaging and fun, art is a great activity at any age, but is especially helpful and rewarding for retired seniors who have time and need activities to keep their minds alert. Art therapy is even used to help stimulate the brain, stir memories and give those with dementia a better quality of life.

2. Volunteering

If your loved one is still able to volunteer and does not suffer from cognitive decline, volunteering at the local department store, fundraising event, local association or senior center can provide not only great socialization, but also self-worth. Often when seniors retire and lose purpose, social and physical decline can happen; which is why staying engaged in the community is even more important. Feeling helpful is an important human emotion that helps keep seniors stimulated, rather than depressed or bored in monotonous day-to-day that can happen in the latter years.

3. Swimming

If your loved one suffers from a disease such as osteoarthritis, where the cartilage wears down between the joints and causes pain, swimming is likely their easiest form of exercise. Exercise is often recommended for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, but traditional exercise, such as walking or aerobics, can also be painful. Since swimming takes the pressure off the joints, it is one activity that they can participate in without aggravating their condition.

Swimming regularly can also help your senior loved one improve not only their cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and balance, but also give them greater muscle tone, better posture and less muscle tension. Swimming is also a great way to boost energy through natural fitness endorphins, that are easy on the joints, and also fun! If your loved one goes to a public pool or gym or is enrolled in a water aerobics program geared toward seniors, they also get the opportunity to meet other people, interact and socialize.

4. Walking

Walking is a tremendously good activity for senior citizens. It’s cheap, it’s simple and almost anybody can do it and it. Walking has a multitude of health benefits for everyone, but is especially helpful for seniors as the activity helps maintain mobility and independence. From walking at the mall, around the park, at the local health club and even in independent and assisted living communities; there’s no activity that offers an inexpensive way to help seniors stay in shape. Walking with loved ones and friends is even a more fun and healthy option for seniors, to increase their socialization.

5. Playing Games / Cards

From playing Solitaire to Bridge to Scrabble, cards and games are an excellent way for seniors to keep their minds’ sharp. In fact, research has shown that adults who enjoy mentally stimulating games may have bigger brains and sharper thinking skills than their peers. Higher education has been linked to decreased risk of cognitive decline. Researchers theorize that well-educated people have better connected synapses in their brain, which also helps compensate for the havoc wreaked within the brain by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Critical thinking and crossword puzzles are also great ways to keep the brain fit.

6. Dancing

Dancing is not only fun, but is also a great way for seniors to exercise and socialize. Dancing can improve senior balance, gait and overall body functioning, while also helping to reduce the risk of falls, fractures and immobility. Beyond those reasons, a study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that ballroom dancing was associated with a lower risk of dementia. The researchers believed that the mental challenge of following complex dance steps and moving in time with the rhythm of the music are responsible.

7. Gardening

Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people. It’s not only an enjoyable form of exercise, it also increases levels of physical activity and helps increase seniors’ mobility and flexibility. It encourages use of motor skills while improving endurance and strength and even reduces stress levels by promoting relaxation. Gardening also provides stimulation and interest in nature and the outdoors. Many senior living communities offer gardening cubs for residents as the hobby is definitely a positive and popular hobby that helps promote resident happiness.

8. Practicing Yoga

Yoga can provide many physical and mental benefits to an elderly person. From minimizing stress and hypertension to helping to strengthen bones and build balance, yoga is a great hobby for seniors. Many senior centers, athletic clubs and senior care communities offer yoga for the elderly since the meditations offer so many wonderful benefits.

9. Golfing

There are many health benefits for seniors who golf. From improving flexibility, ease of motion and strength to also increasing happiness, socialization and an active lifestyle, golfing is a favorite hobby for many seniors. Since people can golf their entire life, it’s an excellent hobby to keep through the years that provides not only satisfaction, but also helps seniors keep hand-eye coordination and improves mood. Golfing is a great hobby to keep your elderly loved one stimulated and happy.

10. Caring for a Pet

Pets provide a comfort system and actually produce  a chemical chain reaction in the brain that helps to lower levels of of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisol, and increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. In fact, pets have been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels in humans and can actually help lower cholesterol, fight depression and help protect against heart conditions. All great reasons for seniors to have a pet!

Learn some of the best dog breeds for seniors.

11. Visiting Family and Friends

Visiting family and friends is one of the most important past-times for seniors as these catch-ups help combat senior isolation; one of the leading causes of mental and physical decline. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with increased risk for depression, high blood pressure mental decline, and more. Visiting with family and friends not only helps to strengthen family bonds and heritage, it’s also important for happiness. After all, humans are wired to interact and socialize, and they especially need these interactions as they age and sometimes lose spouses and social circles. One of the most important parts of life is about human interaction, emotional connections and having a reason to live.





 Stronger Seniors Chair Exercise for Seniors