There are 84 days left until the start of the 2014 Olympics and Para Olympics in Sochi, and the preparation work for the participating athletes and around the Olympic village is intensifying.
As previously reported, Vimec is also engaged in this process, as it is reinforcing its commitment to ensuring accessibility and freedom of movement throughout Sochi with the installation of 370 Vimec systems.
In order to share our experience in the field with our partners, we are developing a dedicated website aimed at reinforcing our partnerships with our dealers around the world.
The project is currently in progress, and the website’s publication will be announced in the near future.
Vimec’s relationships with its dealers are based on a successful teamwork model, which the company intends to reinforce by encouraging the exchange of information and experiences.
Engaging in sports is beneficial at any age: it helps to maintain physical and mental health, thus improving and prolonging life. Engaging in regular physical activity over long periods of time helps to prevent many diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Engaging in sports regularly helps us keep in shape and looking great. But there are also many other important reasons to stay fit: stronger muscles and bones with respect to a sedentary person; a more efficient cardio-respiratory tract and greater stamina.
Thanks to a greater awareness of the benefits of constant physical activity, the number of people with gym memberships is on the rise. It’s also increasingly common to see people jogging or cycling outdoors.
An overview of people over 65 and sports
Despite the increasing awareness among young people of the benefits offered by sports, the situation among the elderly is lagging: just 15% of people over 65 engage in sports more than once a week.
Most elderly people go out for a pleasant walk around their homes almost daily. Some dedicate themselves to outdoor activities like gardening. This is already a good start: in fact, a little bit of daily movement provides for the following benefits:
Increased blood flow to the brain
Improved respiratory function
Numerous heart benefits, including better blood circulation to the body’s tissues
Walking is also good for the bones, as it helps them to maintain better density over time, without becoming fragile
All of these benefits are even further increased if the elderly person dedicates him/herself to a regular sports activity, in consultation with a physician, and monitored by a good instructor.
Engaging in regular physical activity is the most effective anti-ageing factor for maintaining physical and mental health over time. For people over 65, it is highly recommended to engage in a regular sports activity: now let’s take a look at the exercises most highly recommended for people in their golden years:
Fit walking: walking briskly outdoors. Recommended for everyone as a way to keep in shape, it’s good for the cardio-respiratory system, increases bone density, and tones the muscles.
Water aerobics: particularly recommended for those who are advised to engage in physical activity, but without overloading the hips and knees due to back pain, obesity or joint problems in the legs. Improves blood circulation and promotes muscular and psychological relaxation.
Pilates: with its smooth, controlled, and harmonious movements, this gentle form of exercise is particularly recommended for elderly people as a way to tone up the abdominal, lumbar and dorsal muscles.
A wide range of benefits
As we have seen, there are various physical activities suitable for people over 65. All of them play the fundamental physical role of preventing numerous diseases.
However, the psychological aspect should not be overlooked: in fact, sports also play a social function, and help to fight loneliness among the elderly.
It is also important to consider the level of independence achieved by elderly people with fit bodies: being capable of carrying your shopping bags on your own is a goal that not all people over 65 are able to achieve!
So don’t wait: if you want to achieve excellent results throughout each phase of your life, now’s the time to take up a sport.
The law protects the right of all people with mild or permanent disabilities to engage in sports activities.
In fact, Italian Ministerial Decree no. 236/89 requires all areas intended for sports activities to be accessible to people with disabilities. The buildings and their individual areas must have entrances suitable for allowing access by people with reduced mobility or sensory disabilities.
In addition to ensuring accessibility, is also necessary to guarantee the possibility of using all the areas and equipment.
A significant amount of design headroom is provided in order to ensure perfect accessibility to the sports facilities, with the exception of a few binding elements: e.g. for the design or renovation of public buildings in general, at least one lavatory for the disabled must be included on each floor.
How to make a swimming pool accessible
When designing or renovating a swimming pool, it is necessary to ensure adequate accessibility for:
Horizontal and vertical pathways
Lavatories and changing rooms
For blind or visually impaired individuals, it is necessary to provide a tactile pathway in relief connecting the various areas of the facility.
For people in wheelchairs, any minor height gaps must be eliminated using ramps with handrails. In the case of major height gaps, lifts or platforms must be installed.
The installation of handrails and non-slip flooring in general will serve to ensure greater safety for all.
In order to access the pools, individuals must have the possibility of using stairs, ramps or lifts, depending on the severity of their disabilities. Ramps and stairs must always have handrails.
All corners and edges must be rounded.
It is recommended for steps and ramps to be in contrasting colours, in order to ensure greater visibility for the visually impaired. The lanes in the pool should be separated by ropes.
The benefits of aquatic sports activities
Swimming and aquatic rehabilitation activities are generally recommended to people with disabilities by physicians.
Aquatic sports activities offer several major advantages for people with physical limitations: thanks to the extra support provided by the water, less weight needs to be borne by compromised body parts, and this allows for greater freedom of movement. A therapist, however, must always be present in order to assist of the individual.
The benefits associated with these types of activities are listed below:
Greater range of movement
Anyone can get involved in sports: the example of the Paralympic athletes
There is an increasing amount of awareness of sports for people with disabilities.
The Paralympic Games have been held since 1960, and are attracting an increasing number of spectators each time around. The games provide a venue for athletes with varying degrees of physical disabilities to compete in every sport.
Swimming has always been part of the Paralympic Games. The athletes are divided into categories based on their type of disability, which can also be multiple.
The competitors include athletes missing one or more limbs, athletes suffering from paralysis, and athletes with vision problems: nobody is precluded from participating in competitive sports activities!