By Gilbert Ekezie
It was a day of fun and excitement recently as a former coach of the Flying Eagles, Tunde Disu, led scores of senior citizens in a walk organised by the Charity Organisation for the Welfare of Age People (COWAP) in Lagos.
The exercise, tagged “Elderly Walk for Life,” started from UBA Park, Apongbon, through Marina to Freedom Park, Campos Street, on Lagos Island. The exercise, sponsored by Guarantee Trust Bank (GTBank), Lagos Island Local Government and Lagos Island Local Council Development Area, had over 100 elderly participants between the ages of 60 and 90, who were educated on the importance of regular exercise. They were engaged for 30 minutes in body stretching exercise and aerobics before the walk, which lasted for another one hour.
It was a walk aimed at bringing elderly people together through physical exercise to make them healthier, among other reasons.
In his address, Disu commended COWAP for the initiative, pointing out that it would go a long way in prolonging the life span of the participants.
He said the exercise needed to be carried out on a weekly basis, in order to improve the health of the elderly in the country: “The initiative is a laudable one, so the organisers should try to organise this kind of programme regularly because it is helpful to the aged in the society.”
Disu, also a former technical director of the Nigerian Football Federation, called on the Lagos State government, corporate organisations and individuals to support COWAP in the exercise to ensure that the elderly are always engaged in exercise that would enhance their physical and mental health.
Founder and CEO of COWAP, Mr. Esan Olusola, explained that the exercise was aimed at reintegrating and supporting the well-being of elderly people. He noted that such senior citizens were not getting the attention they deserved from the government and the society.
He explained that the mission of COWAP was to care for the health and welfare of the elderly.
“Regular exercise is recommended for the elderly, but, unfortunately, it is not all of them that do so due to constraints, and this impairs their health and creates physical, emotional and psychological setbacks for them,” he said.
Olusola commended those who supported the exercise and called for more support for the group to do more.
General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Ebenezer Oyefolu, commended COWAP for the bold steps the group has been taking to give the elderly people in the society a sense of belonging.
Oyefolu, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Army Physical Training Group, 81 Division, Major Shehu Ahmed Bashir, pointed out that the physical exercise would go a long way in aiding the sound health of the old citizens.
“This is the kind of thing the elderly people in our society need and we should support it. That is why we are here to ensure that it is successful,” he said.
A participant, Alhaji Ibrahim Ayinla, was elated with the kind of physical exercise he went through, describing the programme as a wonderful initiative by COWAP.
He explained that the exercise would help the body to relax and resist any form of ailment that might have stored up in the body due to lack of workout.
Mrs. Taiwo Opebi, another participant, narrated her experience during the exercise. She said it was an event that made her feel good.
“I am very happy with the exercise because it really has a positive impact in my life,” she enthused.
She commended the organisers and called on them to do more.
“COWAP is really trying. But they need to do more for us because we need the exercise to live longer,” she said.