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Promoting Healthy Activity for the Elderly

May 08, 2015

Mr Nivash Rugbeer. 
Mr Nivash Rugbeer was among Masters of Sport Science graduates whose research helped change the lives of senior citizens in old age homes around Durban.  

Rugbeer (27) found that group exercise significantly improved the nutritional status and health-related quality of life of the elderly folk after he introduced group exercise at the homes.

His study participants who performed group exercise three times a week reported improved social functioning, vitality and mental health, while those who did the group exercise twice a week said they had improved social functioning.

Rugbeer said the group exercise programme assisted the elderly in accomplishing activities of daily living safely, ‘improving their functional ability and quality of life’.

He says he studied Sport Science because he has always been interested in sport performance and rehabilitation sciences.

Currently employed at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Biokinetics and Physical Therapy, Rugbeer is also registered with the Health Professional Councils of South Africa, the Biokinetics Association of South Africa, and an accredited Exercise in Medicine professional.

He is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, a recipient of merit certificates in Kinesiology and Health Education, Biomechanical Principles of Sport Science, Sport Organisation and Management as well as Legal Aspect, Rehabilitation Science and Sports Science Teaching.

‘My intrinsic motivation and drive to improve quality of life of ailing folk enabled me to further my studies in the field on Biokinetics.’

Rugbeer said due to the high prevalence of chronic disease, disability and inactivity within long-term care facilities, elderly people experienced difficulties in performing activities of daily living resulting in dependence.

‘The elderly residing in long-term care facilities are often neglected. My passion is to use skills and experience obtained from my studies to develop a group exercise programme that improves functional ability of the elderly and adds years of life for them.’

He said the long-term goal of the study was to encourage the elderly within long-term care facilities to be physically active and improve functional ability promoting inclusiveness in society.

Rugbeer said he was ‘delighted and grateful to God’ for providing an opportunity to further his studies and contribute positively to the body of knowledge.

‘My deepest gratitude goes to my supervisors, Professor van Heerden and Dr Serela Ramklass, for all the support, encouragement, guidance and sound advice they gave me.’

He said encouragement from his mother and grandmother instilled self-confidence and enabled him to persevere in reaching his goals.

Rugbeer is now pursuing a PhD in Sport Science and is determined to establish a long-term community exercise based project for community dwelling and institutionalised frail old persons.

Lunga Memela

Uploaded by: Fhumulani Andrew Liabara

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