Mayors Robert Thomlinson, Greg Rathjen, Sean McIntyre and Mike Yargeau were present at the thrid annual Walk with the Mayors and walked a few laps around the track at the NexSource Centre on Nov. 3. The event is to promote seniors fall prevention. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Central Alberta mayors walk for fall prevention

Annual Walk with the Mayors was held Nov. 3 at the NexSource Centre

The best way for seniors to stay safe and prevent injury from potential falls is through physical activity.

The third annual Walk with the Mayors event which took place at the NexSource Centre this year, promotes physical activity in Alberta’s seniors.

According to Monica Morrison, one of the organizers of the event, walking is one of the best activities seniors can participate in.

“Falls are a huge problems for seniors, and the best way to prevent it is with physical activity,” said Morrison.

Walking can stimulate every part of the body as a physical exercise, while also being low impact.

Morrison recommends making sure those who use walking as a form of exercise keep good posture, engage the abs and use urban poles if possible.

“Of course you don’t need the poles, you get the same benefits from swinging your arms while walking,” Morrison explained.

With winter now upon Central Alberta, icy roads and sidewalks are a real and present danger.

To prevent potential falls on the ice, seniors, as well as anyone walking on icy walk ways, are recommended to take precautions. One suggested way to walk across icy surfaces is using small steps.

Walking with a wide stride is more likely to lead to slipping on a hidden patch of ice, according to Morrison.

The Walk with the Mayors event is organized by the Central Alberta Falls Prevention Coalition, which has members from various towns in Central Alberta.

Present at this year’s event was Mayor Sean McIntyre, from Sylvan Lake, Mayor Robert Tomlinson, from the Summer Villages, Mayor Greg Rathjen, from Bentley, and Mayor Mike Yargeau, from Penhold.

“Falls affect all age groups, but as we get older a fall can really affect us,” Morrison said, adding a fall can lead to death for a senior citizen.

Mayor McIntyre said it is important for the population to know centres with walking/running tracks, like the NexSource Centre, exist.

He says these facilities are for people of all ages to ensure they stay physically active throughout their life.

“It is so important for our seniors, and for everyone, to maintain their physical activity throughout our long winters,” said McIntyre, adding “you can’t allow [the snow] to stop us from being active.”

The Sylvan Lake Town Council proclaimed November to be Seniors Fall Prevention Month in the Town of Sylvan Lake, at their last meeting on Oct. 23.

Every year more than 8,000 hospital admissions are due to seniors falls. Seniors falls also result in more than 24,000 emergency room visits each year.

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