As an Occupational Therapist I have the privilege of seeking to impact all spheres of my clients’ life.  My ultimate goal is always to assist my clients to achieve their maximum potential by introducing strength and conditioning training into their lives. Working with adults with special needs is very rewarding as you develop programs tailor made to accommodate their disability and aimed at assisting them to experience success and fulfillment through the activity.  

Sunfield Home has a wonderful strength and conditioning programme for their residents

At Sunfield Home we have residents who are intellectually impaired, but also residents who have physical disabilities.  Our holistic approach to our residents includes caring for, maintaining and improving their physical fitness and strength.  During the summer months a great deal of emphasis is placed on swimming and aquatics as a tool to maintain their physical wellbeing.  Now, during the winter months, we have implemented focused strength and conditioning training sessions.  

Who is leading our strength and conditioning training?

Maritsa from Super M’s Community Fitness in Howick (@SuperMCommunityFitness) is assisting our residents twice a week where she is focusing on strengthening their core, their large stabilizing muscles, as well as doing stretching to improve their flexibility.  As adults it is important for us to maintain our strength and fitness.  If not this can result in poor balance, gait and strength which in turn can result in various injuries.  The less we move…the less we are able to move!

Our residents have had an absolute ball doing these sessions with Maritsa.  Her fun bubbly personality draws the residents to her, and they are very keen to give her their best.  She also brings along all kinds of innovative equipment for them to work with such as PVC piping, thera-bands and dumbbells.  The sessions are done in our hall within well structured small groups and presented at a level where each resident gets the most out of the session.  

Advantages of strength and conditioning training

A key advantage of these strength and conditioning sessions is that the residents are also gaining confidence in their own abilities, their self-image improves as they are able to participate in activities that are new to them, and other areas are stimulated such as motor planning, left and right discrimination, body awareness, not even to mention all the sensory input they receive.  

Then there is also the benefit of the release of Dopamine during exercise. There are so many benefits that come along with being part of a regular exercise program. Ultimately a stronger more supple body will move better and present with fewer injuries. 

As Sunfield Home partner with Super M Community Fitness to ensure that we protect and improve the health of our residents who have intellectual and physical disabilities, we would like to encourage you the reader to also adopt a healthy lifestyle by getting moving and getting active.  

Would you like to follow our strength and conditioning training progress?

You are welcome to visit our Facebook page to take a peek at all the exciting physical activities our residents get involved in. Be it playing soccer, softball, table tennis, pool, bocce, putt-putt or going for a brisk walk in the neighborhood. Fitness, health and fun are our first priority!

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