Better-than-OK Boomers strengthen bodies and connections through UFV Kinesiology testing

Bridging the gap between Boomers and Generation Z was a stretch — literally – when 35 Kinesiology members put nine ElderCollege seniors through their paces, all in the name of interpersonal experiential learning at UFV’s Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park.

The collaboration launched after Dr. Jason Brandenburg decided his KIN 462 class (Advanced Exercise Testing and Prescription) would get more out of an upcoming section on testing with actual test subjects. Luckily for all, the ElderCollege office was just across the hall.

“It provides an opportunity for the Kinesiology students, but also for the ElderCollege members who will end up learning about their areas of strength, and what areas they might need to improve,” explains Brandenburg, a seasoned faculty member who also serves as UFV Kinesiology department head.

Each ElderCollege participant will receive personalized recommendations for physical activity based on flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance testing conducted by UFV students.

Currently serving as ElderCollege’s past chair, Marlene Dance jumped at the chance to join Brandenburg’s class.

“As we get older we tend to become more sedentary,” she says.

“The body is meant to move and be kept fluid and agile — this experience with the students was just perfect for that type of thing.”

Students were “fun and friendly, professional but not pushy” as she navigated a series of stations, ranging from getting out of a chair without using her hands, to curling a dumbbell (eschewing the 5-pound weight reserved for women in favour of the 7-pound intended for men).

A true lifelong learner, Dance has taken several classes, recently completing Excel spreadsheet training. She’s also a 10-year ElderCollege instructor, specializing in genealogy.

“It’s really invigorating to have our ElderCollege classes on a campus with a lot of young people. Participating in testing like this is a way to show our appreciation,” she says, noting the roster of test volunteers filled almost immediately from committee members alone.

Students not only learned how to conduct tests on those volunteers, but also the value in making their subjects comfortable by explaining in concise and meaningful ways why those tests are performed.

“It was inspiring,” says Sandeep Aujla, a fourth-year student from Surrey.

“Health promotion is a vital portion of our studies and future endeavors, and this experience gave me a glimpse of what’s to come when I delve into my career as a professional.”

Getting hands-on experience to apply information and skills learned in classrooms was a breakthrough, said Marissa Murphy, a fourth-year Kinesiology student from Chilliwack.

“It was a very positive experience … so valuable,” she adds.

“The whole experience solidified the importance of what we were learning in class and took it from just being theoretical, to information that we can apply in a practical setting,” offers Erin Long, a fifth-year student from Abbotsford.

“It helped confirm this is a field of study that I want to be involved in.”

Learn more about UFV’s Kinesiology program here.

ElderCollege celebrated its 20th anniversary in September. To learn more, visit www.chilliwackeldercollege.ca.

While not directly related to this classroom project, more experiential learning projects are forming through UFV’s new Centre for Experiential and Career Education (CECE) ufv.ca/jobs/experiential-learning/

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