Exercise and Fitness Activities (4 activity ideas)
Here are four examples of exercise and fitness activities you can run in your community. The purpose of these activities is to promote physical activity, to improve balance, mobility and strength in a motivating environment alone and/or in group settings. See below for examples of exercise and fitness activities you can implement in your setting!
Materials, Resources and People Needed for the Activities:
1. Challenge yourself to move
By Ontario Brain Institute: This exercise planner could be used in the context of physical activity and fall prevention classes as a home assignment to regularly engage in physical activity that is being defined by the adult, older adult and/or caregiver. If used in a group context such as classes, workshops or community meetings, the facilitators could request a feedback group discussion after one or two weeks to discuss obstacles, successes and ideas in engaging in physical activity.
Costs: Printing costs if you distribute the planner to event participants.
Timeline: May vary depending on the event in which this activity is taking place.
2. Flash mob
By Fraser Health: This video provides ideas of flash mobs in different settings from residences to community settings such as pools with older adults of various abilities. Participants can exercise in their seats, wheelchairs, in the water and standing.
Costs: Time of fitness instructors and staff to organize flash mobs
Timeline: May vary depending on how many people are involved and in which setting the activity takes place.
3. Nordic Walking/Urban Poling Activity:
Suggested by Saskatchewan Health Authority Saskatoon area: Daphne Kemp (306)-655-2400.
Nordic walking, is walking with poles in urban or rural settings like sidewalks, city parks, trails and roads. Think cross-country skiing without the skis. The purpose of this activity is to provide ann opportunity to learn the art and benefits of urban poling through hands on experience. You can provide this in a few ways.
- Have an urban poling display at locations such as hospitals, libraries, clinics, community halls. This would provide information on cost, how to purchase and benefits. Allow the public to experience them with a professional that can provide feedback on correct usage. This would be a come and go, walk up event, no scheduled times of an actual class.
- Host an urban poling class to allow people to experience poles and their benefits.
- Use poster to provide times and locations of the poling event. Ensure contact number is available for registering.
- Meet those registered ( e.g. lunch hour for staff is a great time).
- Review the material educational material, access poles from a reputable vendor grab some friends or do it individually and go for a trek.
Provide instruction or educate yourself on the poles - approx. 5 minutes + 20 minutes walking outdoors or indoors.
Costs: Costs would be for promotion such as posters or media to get the word out regarding the event. See attached for example poster. Cost of multiple poles or access to poles for use of registrants or display. *You will need to have access to a person in your area that is certified in urban poling. There are costs associated with this - see https://urbanpoling.com/
Timeline: You may host multiple times throughout the month at various times of day at various locations to increase access to as many people as possible.
4. Globe Walk:
Submitted by Saskatoon Council on Aging: Travel the globe right from your very own location. You can try it yourself, with friends or colleagues. Get a group together and do some walking. Participants are encouraged to count their steps, time or distance. Any type of physical activity can be counted towards your individual or team's total. Although Fall Prevention Month focuses on being active in November, the Globe Walk Initiative runs over a 4 month period (January – April) to encourage older adults to exercise during the winter months when it tends to be more difficult. You can get a head start.
Costs: Other than a good pair of walking shoes, this activity is free.
Timeline: This activity can take place on one day, or be ongoing. Planning timeline depends on if this is a group or individual activity and can be done in the community, with staff or in a care home setting.
Join in or use the resource below to create your own.
Suggested Action Steps to Host Activities
These are the steps to consider in planning, implementing and evaluating your fitness and physical activity:
Action Step 1: Background research and planning
- Read and understand more about the activity you have selected among the options above.
- Determine who you are targeting for your activity (level of fitness required and health to participate in this activity, diversity of the participants, inclusivity, etc.).
- What will be the setting of the activity? What are the resources required? Can you partner with other organizations for greater impact?
Action Step 2: Promotional outreach and education
- Start to plan your activity by designing promotional flyers/materials to recruit participants. Distribute your materials through proper channels (eg. community newspapers, homes, community centres and other community settings where adults and older adults gather).
- Once participants are recruited, inquire about physical fitness, restrictions and abilities of each participant prior to engaging in the selected activity.
- Implement your activity as planned.
Action Step 3: Evaluation
- You can evaluate your activities by counting the number of handouts you gave, or how many people attended your presentation, or how many contacts you gained from your campaign.
- You can also distribute a questionnaire to measure the level of satisfaction with the activity. See participant evaluation template here to customize.
Running this activity in a virtual setting:
Host a Webinar
- You can host, schedule and record meetings with tools like Zoom and Google Meet which people can access from various devices. These tools also allow you to share your screen and have a real-time group chat with your attendees.
- Invite people to the webinar. Set up an event on Eventbrite and promote it through email and social media posts on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Once people register for your event, you can send them a link to any materials they may need prior to it through email.
Host a Live Event
- Live stream the event using Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
Promote This Activity Online
You can share and promote an activity through social media posts and/or email. Social stories (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.) are also a great way to share videos, visuals, polls, etc.
- If you’re sharing a social media post to promote your activity, follow best practices like using shorter captions, quality images, hashtags and a clear call-to-action.
- If you’re emailing to promote your activity, make sure your email is thorough on what the activity is about and how people can register for it. You can use free tools like Canva to customize its design.