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Older bodies are able – let’s treat them that way

Main image by Greg Rosenke, Unsplash

According to the World Health Organisation, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Approximately 684,000 people die from falls globally
each year, and it’s the over 60s who suffer the majority of fatal falls.

Now, two Hawke’s Bay women have recognised the devastating impact of falls, and are setting out to change the stats, believing passionately that our older generation are able, and
should be treated that way.

Marya Hopman and Rebekah Charlton from Kiwi start-up SuperCue understand the positive impact that exercise and mobility has on both physical and mental wellbeing, and how strength helps individuals to maintain a more active life, lived without fear. As exercise experts – Rebekah is a fitness trainer while Marya is a corrective exercise specialist – they’re helping older Kiwis right across New Zealand stay active and fit, no matter what life stage they’re at.

Marya and Rebekah launched their social enterprise in 2019, providing seniors with in-depth education on things like posture and exercise to make fitness more relevant and effective in
improving everyday movement.

The SuperCue DVD, written tutorials, resources and rehabilitation programmes have been designed to provide users with access to alternative fitness options to keep them strong and
prevent falls – a major cause of hospitalisation and physical decline. SuperCue allows people to keep moving, with excellent support and the benefits of socialisation, whether they are in
an exercise group, in the comfort and safety of their own home, or living in a retirement village.

“Many of the people we work alongside are never encouraged to exercise because their family or carers think they are too fragile or frail,” says Marya. “But most are not. They’re more than capable of exercising and enjoying the benefits of this programme. We empower our members to create positive change by allowing them to really understand their bodies,
their movement and be motivated to improve.

“Our format brings together elements of strength training, movement to music and physiotherapy and all the exercises can be done either standing, or completely seated for the less mobile – even if you’re in a wheelchair,” continues Marya.

Importantly, all of SuperCue’s fitness options are tailored and specialised to help prevent falls because they are approved by the ACC Live Stronger for Longer initiative. SuperCue’s constantly evolving framework of safe and relevant fitness options for retirement villages, rest homes, social services and community groups is unrivalled in New Zealand, and contributes actively towards reducing the trauma and cost of fall-related injuries. With the impact of Covid last year making access to group exercise trickier for villages, the DVD and subscriber-based online workouts are available for those who can’t take part in group fitness.

Rebekah says it’s never too late to start exercising, and the gains will soon be seen, no matter what the age. “We work with people from varying backgrounds and with a wide range
of abilities – that is why our exercise starts from the point of good posture. It doesn’t matter whether you’re only able to sit, or can stand for just short periods. Our programmes are
suitable for everyone.”

Rebekah Charlton (left) and Marya Hopman (right)

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