5 Tips To Successfully Train The Older Adult
Staying as active as possible is key to healthy aging. The older we grow, the more important regular exercise is in order to maintain our lean muscle mass, protect our bones, and increase our energy. Exercise is also important for brain and mental health in regards to decreasing stress, improving mood, and enhancing memory.
With all the amazing benefits exercise can offer, knowing how to work with the aging population is imperative in order to prevent injury. Some people may not be exercising on a regular basis and may have more difficulty in movement, balance, and flexibility. Therefore, knowing your clientele’s strengths and weaknesses is key to providing them with proper form so injuries and falls are prevented.
Here are 5 tips to successfully train the older adult:
Tip#1: Assessment – determine if there are any ailments, past injuries, or health problems which may affect the workout. Find out what medications are being taken and if they need medical clearance for a preexisting condition. Ask if there are any activities they should avoid. Conduct a complete initial assessment consisting of anthropometric measurements, physical, movement ability, and medical.
Tip #2: Preparation – set a consistent schedule with the client so exercising becomes a habit. Incorporate routines and “homework” for the clients to do on their own so they continue to move throughout the week. Provide the clients with simple tips for daily mobility so they have better blood flow and do not sit for long periods of time. At the training session, have the right equipment so it’s easy to modify levels of intensity as needed such as different size weights or resistance bands.
Tip #3: Intensity – start slow if the person has not been active in a while. Starting strong can result in injury. Incorporate a warmup and cool down component into the workout routine and keep water handy for hydration. Monitor your client to see if there is any discomfort in the hips, knees, back, or joints.
Tip #4: Progression – continue to reassess the strength and intensity of the workouts as the week’s progress. Monitoring and documenting improvements in balance, strength, endurance, and flexibility can demonstrate to the client how they are enhancing their practice. This can also result in increased motivation.
Tip #5: Motivation – boosting one’s feelings of independence can provide accomplishment and a sense of empowerment. When a person feels as though they are progressing with their goals, they will feel stronger, healthier, and more motivated to keep on going. Tracking one’s progress can help with motivation.
As with all ages, incorporating cardio endurance, strength training, flexibility, and balance into the workouts will result in optimal health and fitness results. These tips can be used for every aged person. Pay attention to your clients’ needs and abilities and you can empower them even more.
For further education and certification on the older adult, get specialized training. Check out the various programs which offer a Senior Fitness Specialist Certification through ACE, AFPA, ASFA, Cooper Institute, IFPA, ISSA, IWA, WITS.
Sarah Koszyk is the founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and recipe blog where she also conducts cooking videos with kids. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at Eating Free, an online adult weight management program. She also provides in-person nutrition coaching at a private practice, MV Nutrition, in San Francisco, CA, where she specializes in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.