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Cardio drumming: exercise for all ages

Lauren MacGill

MORDEN - 

A fitness program that teams senior citizens with young children to keep them active has wrapped up for the summer.

The city’s Cardio Drumming program held its last sessions on May 25 at the Morden Activity Centre and Homestead South.

Cardio drumming is a form of exercise where participants drum on an exercise ball with drumsticks to keep time with music. “It’s a physical activity that puts the brain into motion with the body,” fitness instructor Deanna Baker said. “It’s one thing as a trainer to put you through a boot camp series of exercises, but here you have to coordinate that with the music which means that everyone’s mind is distracted from how much they’re actually physically doing.”

Baker said participants are often surprised at the end of classes when she tells them exactly how many steps they’ve done and how much work they really put in.

“You’re using upper body a lot in this class too,” Baker added. “A lot of times people say, ‘I walk a lot,’ but that doesn’t engage the upper body. Our upper body muscle engagement isn’t nearly as attended too often, so this gets both put together.”

The project was initiated by the City of Morden through a successful application with the National Horizons for Seniors Grant. Cardio drumming ran for four weeks through the month of May.

“The cardio drumming program for Homestead started with an amazing word called ‘intergenerational,’” Baker said. “We have those in our community who are very young and those of us who have been through life and are living in retirement. What you have here is an opportunity for these two generations to meet and do things together, because it’s not always easy to mold two interests together in one.”

Of course, the program also has benefits for the children that participate as well. “To put those two [generations] together in a way that is very friendly and comfortable in both regards is fantastic,” Baker said.

Baker said she recently ran into one of the day care participants of the program at the grocery store, and he remembered the drumming activity.

“That memory is going to linger, and on his face he was excited to show me,” she said. “Although he didn’t remember my name, he remembered this, and that’s the key.”

“The point of it is did you have fun?” she added. “Did you enjoy it? Did you get more active? Yes, yes, yes.”

Baker said one tricky part of getting a program like this together was keeping people’s interest. “Not everybody is excited about it but they know it’s good for them,” Baker said. “We need to make sure they’re not excited about it, it’s still interesting and engaging enough that they want to come back every week. We’ve seen that, and it’s really wonderful.”

Baker said the trick as an instructor was to find music that appealed to both young children and older adults.

The city will be taking feedback from participants to look into bringing the program back.