World Championships for Elderly
Passing through the front doors at Søreide Nursing home in Bergen you wouldn´t expect anything out the ordinary. But getting closer to the lounge and dining area you hear loud cheering, singing and laughter.
Story by Tobias Dahlberg Carlsson
Indoor cycling for the elderly has made a huge impact lately.
Going up Fløyen
Staff, residents of the nursing home and visiting day visitors taking part in the centre’s activities are all facing a big screen at front of the room. Two indoor ergometer bikes are lined up in front of the screen, on one of them, Petra Erichsen is pedalling her way up Fløyen, the finale of the Time Trial course. The crowd behind her cheers her on.
-It´s fun, also since you might not get out that much anymore, says Erichsen, taking part in the daily activities at Søreide. Through the screen she has visited different places, such as her parents old house and other familiar places and it brings back memories to share amongst each other. However, following the championship races is also important.
- I follow everything and hope that Hagen can do well, or maybe Kristoff, says Erichsen. The cycling sport as truly gotten a hold at this nursing home.
Fun and useful
Søreiide Nursing home has seen the World Championships as an opportunity to bring the outside world inside, since most residents would not be able to participate in any other way. Not only creating a buzz and fun events, but foremost to use physical activities as a way to improve overall health and motivation.
-This really stimulates and motivates, both the elderly and us working here, says Head of Operations at Søreide, Ingun Kjemhus. When getting more physical activity, they see improvements such as less medication, better sleep and appetite. - We only see positive effects, but we probably need more bikes since they need to line up in a queue to get going, says Kjemhus.
Old memories, new friends
- It´s nice to ride the bike having something interesting to watch, and the World Championships is just great, you need some highlights and happenings in life, says Rut Knutsen from Fjøsa. – And cycling inside when it rains outside is also a huge benefit, adds Rut´s friend, Else Setterstrand with a smile.
Choosing from different videos of roads to follow, the indoor cyclist could go and experience different places, home ground or elsewhere, without having to leave the nursing home. – The places bring up fun stories from their childhood and from traveling, making it also socially binding when talking about it, it is just so much fun to listen to, says activity coordinator Bente Eide.
-It is a great thing for us elderly, almost as if being at the movies as well. I don´t know how they did it with the videos. And it is just great with the World Championships, I would have liked to join, says Aud Ellingsen, originally from Fana in Bergen.
Andreas Øksendal, physio therapist, goes on to tell how his work is just much more fun and it simplifies helping out even those who have difficulties moving the pedals. – Since the bikes have small motors it supports the riders if needed, instead of doing this movement manually we get support by it. The bikes are used all the time, everyone gets involved and says things like “I´ve been there” and “that’s where my grandchildren lives” and so on, says Øksendal.
World Championships for Elderly
Taking part in the initiative World Championships for Elderly (Sykkel-VM for Eldre) the cyclists could track how long and how far they go. This initiative, taken by Jan-Inge Ebbesvik of MotiView, has over 1,200 participants, in countries such as Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Canada. He also sees being it becoming part of every upcoming championships. They are not only playing around, some are counting every meter they ride, says Head of Operations at Eide, Ingun Kjemhus
Leaving Søreide Nursing home we share the corridor with one resident who mutters about something. Disappointed? No, just getting back to the room so she could follow the women junior road race, of course.
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