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Traning methods: Physical exercise program for older adults in Sanxenxo


The Municipality of Sanxenxo, through the Department of Social Welfare, has been developing a physical exercise and sports program for the elderly since 1999. The beneficiaries of the program are people in the municipality who are pensioners or retired. Those people who, in the opinion of the social workers or psychologist, in agreement with the sports technician responsible for the program, need this activity, and by means of a social report can also benefit from it, without being pensioners. It should also be noted that the activity includes people with physical, mental and sensory disabilities, with limitations that allow them to actively participate in the program, promoting the integration of all groups regardless of their ability.

It is a highly demanded program and the number of people enrolled over the years is growing exponentially. During the time of the pandemic (2020-2022), the physical exercise program was more valuable than in any of the other years, due to the need to be in a place with sporting regulations and share moments of socialisation, given the restrictions of meeting with others in daily life. A total of 200 people took part.

The physical exercise program has been developed in Sanxenxo for about 25 years, maintaining the philosophy of work that is framed in the following objectives: 1. Encourage the active participation of the group of elderly people and pensioners in leisure and free time sports activities.2. To carry out all kinds of motor and cognitive memory activities and exercises involving coordination, attention and motor control work. 3. Promote communication and social coexistence between the elderly and pensioners, regardless of age. 4. To transmit to people of this group the importance and responsibility of their physical, mental and social health, encouraging the acquisition of healthy lifestyle habits through the practice of sport, both individually and as part of a group. 5. To prevent coronary or neuromuscular degenerative diseases due to lack of physical exercise, and to alleviate as far as possible the symptoms of some kind of limitation, favouring their mobility and therefore their autonomy. 6. To improve their physical and psychological conditions, preventing the appearance of pain related to a sedentary lifestyle, integrating them into a system of social work and making them participants in group activities. 7.To integrate people affected by disabilities into the program of physical activity and sport.

The physical exercise and sports program starts at the end of September of one year until the end of June of the following year. The program has a frequency of two sessions per week which take place outdoors on the Baltar Football Field above or in the Baltar pavilion. On days when the weather does not allow it. In the program sessions, they work on coordination, strength, endurance and flexibility. In addition, participants can also combine this land program with the water program in the Portonovo swimming pool, but in the last two years of the pandemic, this water activity cannot be carried out as the pool is closed. If participants decide to enroll in the aquatic program, the number of weekly physical exercise sessions would be a minimum of 3 sessions.

Given the high number of participants, and that the groups could not exceed 25 people until October 2021, this year they were distributed in three groups. Monday from 10:00- 11:00, Monday: 11:00-12:00 and Tuesday from 10:00-11:00. The Monday groups repeat the session on Thursday and the Tuesday group repeats the session on Friday. The sessions have a duration of 60 minutes each. The aim is to ensure health by avoiding unnecessary exposure to infection and to facilitate the organisation of the service and the access of the elderly to the activity. The groups belong to the different parishes of Sanxenxo (Portonovo, Vilalonga, Noalla, Bordóns, Sanxenxo, Dorrón, A Dina and Nantes).

Due to the health measures applied to sport and the initial reluctance of this group to expose themselves to a social activity, in the first period of the year 2021 the groups were limited to 25 people, while from October the groups were opened. These circumstances led to a rise from 75 people in the first two months to 183 at the end of 2021 and over 200 people in 2022.

The physical exercise program for the elderly ends every year with a sports activity, which this year has been made to coincide with the Meeting of the European project IN COMMON SPORT+, and with the development of a session of traditional games and adapted sports (Handball, Volleyball, Basketball and Boccia) in which all the elderly registered in the activity took part.

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