SMALL STEPS TO HEALTH
Mrs Cooper was named the Most Outstanding Metropolitan Living Longer Living Stronger Instructor of 2016, which was presented to her by Victoria Park-based Council on the Ageing WA. She said it was a lovely surprise to win the award. “I was sitting in the hairdresser when I found out and it was quite a shock,” she said. “It was great to win but it’s not just about me, it’s about the team here and the environment, so it’s a team achievement.” DEBBIE Cooper wants seniors to start doing little things to improve their health and wellbeing.
“Generally you need 150 to 300 minutes of exercise each week, so I encourage people to do 10 minutes of exercise at one time,” she said.
“If you can’t get outside then walk around the clothes line and build up your confidence.
“It can make life easier because as you get older you lose your strength progressively.
“It’s not something you lose overnight, but can feel it when you hang up washing or reach for something in the cupboard.”
The Curtin University-accredited exercise physiologist is the lead instructor for the Living Longer Living Stronger program, which was brought to the campus in January 2016.
“The program is predominantly strength-based and it’s for people aged over 50, some who have chronic diseases, but it can be for anyone,” she said.
“With all of our clients, we have an assessment, chat about their goals and then come up with a program designed to focus on those areas.
“We have had about 50 clients since we started and there has been progress for all of them. They have all seen changes, whether it is improved flexibility or a greater ability to play with their grandchildren.”
Mrs Cooper said clients were able to come into the Curtin University Health and Wellness Centre two or three times per week to use the gym equipment.
Parkwood resident Pauline Carrier joined the program in April 2016 to help with illnesses, including chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis, asthma and depression.
“It’s not just good for your physical health but also your mental health,” she said.
“I’ve gone from feeling anxious to feeling hopeful; before I was surviving and now I’m thriving.”
Instructor Debbie Cooper takes Pauline Carrier through a workout.