The University of New Brunswick’s Silver Series finds an energetic following.

More and more, older Canadians are proving that when they work together to stay physically active, the results are healthier, more inclusive communities that inspire everyone involved.

As he finishes up his last set with the heavy ropes, Basil McCarthy looks right at home among the steady stream of university students who come and go from the campus gym.

“There’s a lot of energy here,” he says. “There’s a lot of inquisitive young minds. And I can relate to that.”Basil McCarthy

This sense of vitality is the successful result of the University of New Brunswick’s Silver Series, which offers exercise programs designed specifically for older adults.

While the participants themselves range from active, healthy seniors to those living with chronic conditions, they share in the overall goal of improving their fitness in a safe, supportive environment. For Alina Cress, the program’s coordinator, the Silver Series is all about fostering physical awareness.

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“When we’re hosting a fitness class, we’re essentially coaching movement. We want to make sure that participants expand their knowledge of what mindful movement is—being aware of alignment, being aware of their breath, being aware of where their feet are placed on the ground.”

As Cress points out, achieving such awareness can mean different things on different days. The aim is, however, always to ensure that participants move safely, and that they experience, as Cress describes it, “the maximum ability that their body has that day.”

In the process, participants gain far more than just strength and endurance.

“Fitness programs go far beyond just the physical benefits,” Cress explains. “There’s a social benefit as well. There’s a psychological benefit. So, it’s a very holistic approach to wellness.”

Pat Keenan agrees. Having found the Silver Series to be a consistently positive space, she believes the energy is contagious.

“You just come in here in the morning and you feel good, you feel comfortable. It puts you in a great mood. And I also made a lot of friends here, too,” she adds.
“I just feel so much better overall,” she says. “Some days, I even feel like a teenager myself.”

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