The Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging’s Research to Action Conference (R2A) was a wonderful way to further expand my knowledge as a student in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western University. The conference was unique in its interactive style, which not only emphasized the educational aspects of the event, but also promoted physical activity, health, and well-being.
R2A 2014 had two types of presentations, informative lectures on various educational topics such as Falls Prevention, Fitness Program Design, and Non-Medical Views of Exercise, and interactive, applied workshops that demonstrated the components of seniors’ fitness classes and provided suggestions for enhancing these programs while engaging the conference delegates in physical activity.
The lecture-style presentations were very engaging; in particular, I enjoyed Dr. Al Salmoni’s presentation entitled “The Non-Medical View of Exercise”. The presentation aimed to educate attendees on how to expand and apply their knowledge in regards to health promotion for older adults. One of the many things that I learned over the 2-day of conference was the importance of our own word choice when conversing with others both in the field of health promotion as well as when engaging older adults to participate in exercise. This concept was highlighted by Dr. Salmoni who discussed how simply rephrasing terms such as “exercise” or “physical activity” to something more pleasant and associated with enjoyable activities will increase interest and participation of older adults. The materials presented at the conference were applicable to health promoters, older adults, and any individuals who have an interest in seniors’ fitness, whether personally or professionally.
The conference also presented the research projects that the CCAA is involved in. I found this aspect of the conference interesting as it introduced me to new areas of research and provided a great way to keep up-to-date on current research related to older adults. The interactive workshops were an enjoyable component of the conference as they were engaging and fun for participants, while providing new ideas for fitness leaders. The presenters, including CCAA fitness instructors, were well informed about the exercises that they demonstrated and clearly expressed the benefits of each one as they performed them with the group of conference delegates, over 200 people! I also really enjoyed the music as it was upbeat and encouraged the attendees to interact with one another.
Overall, I enjoyed the 2014 Research to Action Conference both on an educational and personal level. The conference was a great way for veteran delegates to further develop their knowledge, while providing an excellent introduction to first-time attendees eager learn about the importance of healthy active aging. The presentations were very well done and informative, and of course the workshops were a great way to experience first-hand, older adult fitness classes. All in all, I think the conference was a great success, and would highly recommend this event in the future.
Billy Tran, 3rd Year Health Sciences Student