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​Jozi gogos show the way to healthy living through aerobics

To mark the end of the 2016 Senior Citizens’ Month, a group of elderly Soweto residents took part in aerobics under the banner of the City of Johannesburg’s Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme at the Jabulani Civic Centre on Friday October 28.

The programme is part of a drive to prevent or fight lifestyle diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity and enhance Johannesburg’s life expectancy through physical activity and healthy eating.

On Friday, a group of gogos and old timers clad in colourful gym regalia could be seen sweating it out and exerting themselves in several aerobics routines, with many showing high levels of physical fitness.

Spearheaded by City’s Health and Social Development Department in partnership with Virgin Active, the Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme brings health education to all members of the community.

Health and Social Development’s Margaret Kwena said the programme prioritised senior citizens so the younger ones could emulate them.

“There is a social package we are offering that has components through which we engage senior citizens. These include social support, empowerment, economic development, excursions and nutritional lessons.

“Today we have mobilised senior citizens of Region D as we promote healthy living through aerobics. We also went further by bringing in a hair and skin expert,” she said.

“The reason we are doing this is because we believe our senior citizens will pass down the message to younger people, who will then carry on the tradition. We saw it fit that getting them educated first will get the younger generation to follow suit.”

Region D’s Aerobics Team Leader, Patrick Penn, said he had seen changes in many of his elderly aerobics patrons.

“It truly gives me inspiration to see so much energy being exuded by people over the age of 60. Most of them have shown superb fitness. I was very impressed with how long they lasted in the session.

“We did a 30-minute session this morning and most of the grannies here have shown great resilience. They were still going strong even at the end.”

Muhammed Mabotja, Health Awareness Campaigner at the Jabulani branch of Virgin Active, said the gym had partnered with the City’s Health Department to conduct wellness talks among Soweto residents.

“We talk to people about common ailments that the aged are susceptible to and how they can be avoided,” he said.

Septuagenarian Malebone Mogafe of Mofolo has been a health enthusiast for 33 years and is still at it.

“I always tell my children to look after their health. Everywhere I go people never believe my age.

“I’m happy that the City is facilitating programmes like these to promote good health,” she said.