“Being involved in FitLine helps you to see the benefit and value of exercise and how it effects your health and longevity,” said Tony McCarthy (76), FitLine volunteer mentor with Age & Opportunity. “I’ve been a FitLine volunteer mentor for 10 years now.”
On December 5th, International Volunteer Day, Age & Opportunity celebrated the incredible FitLine volunteer mentors who are committed to helping older persons around Ireland get more active.
Tony, from West Cork and living in Dublin, is one of a number of FitLine volunteer mentors with Age & Opportunity, the national organisation working to enable the best possible quality of life for us all as we age. FitLine is a volunteer peer led telephone line designed to help older people who want to get more active and feel a bit healthier, but perhaps don’t have the motivation, confidence or information on where or how to take that first step. The service is completely free and volunteer mentors like Tony call participants every two weeks at a time that suits them.
“There are so many things that people are doing to keep moving. Walking, using our Age & Opportunity Active DVD, but also things like doing exercises during the ad breaks on TV or household chores. Some people aim for going up and down the stairs more often each day or taking a longer walk to do the shopping,” said Tony.
FitLine mentors are volunteer older people who understand the challenges of getting active. They’ll give you information, advice and gentle encouragement to get moving. “Some people like to set a target for how much movement or activity they will get in and try to progress, and others prefer to take it day by day. “When participants talk to you about the movement or activity they incorporate into their lives, sometimes in difficult circumstances, not only are you motivating them, they’re motivating you,” Tony added. “The most important thing I would say to anyone thinking of becoming a FitLine participant is that exercise improves your wellbeing so it’s important you get it.”