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Condo Communities: Living a Healthy Lifestyle


Physical activity is an important part of life, providing many benefits such as reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and more. According to the Canadian Profile of Disability, the disability rates of elders over the age of 65 have risen from 31% to 53% due to the lack of physical education and participation. Unfortunately, those living in condos face many barriers preventing them from accessing their resources.

Condominium communities are usually very densely populated and often have low walkability neighborhoods. This prevents owners from enjoying the benefits of a high walkability community with non-residential land uses such as restaurants, grocery stores or convenience stores. Condominiums are structured with many residents and relatively small workout facilities, if they are even provided. Many of these high rises do not have sufficient spaces in their facilities to cater to the needs of different individuals with a range of abilities.

Being in a densely populated environment, there is a high probability that the majority of people will have the same trouble accessing space and time for physical activity. Creating social fitness groups can help residents tackle a common problem. For example: Yoga and Pilates classes, boot camps and walking groups are bound to garner interest. In an effort to make sure no individuals with barring abilities are overlooked, programs can be modified to cater to specific needs. Specifically for the elderly, such modifications include: low impact exercises, various aquatics and chair fitness/yoga type programs. These class style programs, along with seminars and workshops, can also attract those who are deterred by potentially pricey personal trainers.


Eating and food preparation is a social activity. Seniors within condominiums can benefit from a community setting to ensure adequate nutritional intake. Healthy meals can be prepared together in a communal setting. Sharing grocery costs can also be beneficial to limit food waste and build a strong community.

Stress management

Children face similar barriers to seniors in some condominium communities due to the lack of safe, clean space where they can interact and play. Urban areas are worrisome for parents who would like their kids to be able to bike ride outside and engage in community sports. As many of these communities are not geared towards younger children, open spaces are limited and high-rise buildings are very dense.  Safety becomes the number one issue because unlike less populated residences, it is difficult to get to know all the neighbors, and the likelihood of crime increases. Exercise is also reduced when residents travel using vehicles or public transportation. Very few programs in these communities tend to the needs of families with children, making it very difficult to engage in physical activities.

As mentioned previously, social groups will allow those who would not have previously met to get to know one another. Familiarity, commonality, and a bond that previously did not exist can emerge when groups that partake in activities together.
Parents, along with any other resident that attribute being stressed, isolated and/or sedentary due to an unsafe feeling of their neighborhood, would greatly benefit from such group programs. Naturally, stress as a whole is decreased when physical activity and socialization is incorporated into one's life.

Emotional support

Every demographic and age group will face barriers when it comes to living in condominiums. However, it is the senior population that we feel are most affected. Elders face isolation in condo communities because there can be a lack of programs available to educate this group and provide them with spaces where they can interact, especially with other age groups. In addition to natural progressive age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and arthritis, many seniors face stigmas surrounding their activity level; that they are unable to be as active as the younger population, or that they are more prone to injury. These attitudes can isolate them and can make them feel uncomfortable using the facilities provided to them in the condos, or seeking them out on their own. Removing the stereotypes and providing a medium structured around education and encouragement will help this demographic utilize resources.

Workshops and seminars are key for this particular demographic, simply because education is the first step to overcoming stigmas. Once awareness and education is provided, initiatives to get the elderly engaged in activities is paramount. Providing, safe, evidence-based and fun classes and personal sessions is useful in helping to build confidence in abilities. Lifestyle changes cannot be successful without the necessary knowledge, motivation and guidance. Particularly for the elderly demographic, health screenings would be conducted in order to provide safe guidelines regarding physical activity and well-being.

These assessments could also provide another medium in which those with common age related ailments can interact. In effort to make sure no individuals with barring abilities are overlooked, programs can be modified to cater to their needs. Such modifications include: low impact exercises, various aquatics and chair fitness/yoga type programs and our carefully structured fall prevention protocols.

With increased educational tools, stronger community support and improved resources, residents can gain huge benefits from living in a condo community.


1. Common theme = group activities
2. Social interaction is paramount to tackling most barriers the elderly population faces
THI Programs
·         4 Pillars of Health Seminars (health workshops on fitness, nutritious cooking, stress management):Group Exercise
·         Youth specific (youth training: movement awareness, fitness boot camps)
·         Young Adult (Pilates, yoga, running clubs, fitness boot camp)
·         Seniors (‘chair’ training, Pilates, yoga, walking program, function specific fitness boot camps)
Thank you for your time.
Dr. Joel NM Kerr, BPHE, DC, D. Ac

THI President/Director of Therapy
December 2013 


All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.


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