‘Alpine cycling’ boosts care village residents’ wellbeing


Specialist care village, Belong Macclesfield, is helping residents in their 80s and 90s to experience cycling through the mountains of the Swiss Alps, walking through the streets of Amsterdam or rowing along the Rhine, thanks to the introduction of specialist virtual reality cardiovascular equipment.

The equipment has been proven to increase older people’s independence, balance, coordination, mobility and emotional well-being

The exercise equipment is a virtual reality rehabilitation system with a high definition screen which shows images of geographical locations from around the world and several games set up on a separate screen, which are specifically designed for the older adult. The system uses a 3D motion sensing camera to detect the participant’s movements during the game. The level of each exercise is programmed to suit the user’s physical and cognitive capabilities.

Belong Macclesfield Lead Exercise Instructor, Barbara Tait, said: “The Silverfit equipment is based on the science that shows that when we engage our brains in a game, it prompts our bodies to move almost ‘in spite of ourselves’. Our residents have enjoyed the success of increasing their cognitive and physical capabilities through exercise that is fun and specific to their needs.

“We have certainly seen an increase in well-being, confidence and physical strength amongst customers who have used this gym equipment.”

All Belong village residents, tenants and experience day customers have access to an exercise studio specially equipped to meet the exercise and activity needs of older people. A qualified exercise instructor, experienced in working with older people, helps to develop personalised training programmes to improve mobility and welfare.

Belong Macclesfield has a longstanding specialist exercise service, which is highly regarded by health professionals. It recorded evidence of positive impact on participants when it was awarded level 2 Nesta Evidence of Change in research carried out by the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine on behalf of Public Health England in 2015. It also won the prestigious Excellence in Ageing Services award from the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) in 2013.


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