All of us know a septuagenarian, or even an octogenarian, who can hold his or her own in the gym or on the court with most people half their age. Indeed, being in your 60s isn’t even considered “old” anymore for many people. We all know the use-it-or-lose it mantra, and that, along with practicing an enlightened lifestyle keeps many of us fit, trim and joyfully active.
But like a great old car that you’ve taken meticulous care of, simple wear and tear on our body-parts can also take its toll. Hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, and wrists can cause problems ranging from minor annoyances to activity-limiting physical restrictions. Some medications control medical conditions to normal or near-normal levels, while other medications pose limitations of their own. And arthritis sufferers find that some days are fine and other days are less so.
Senior fitness from the perspective of the personal trainer offers a diverse range of scenarios. What is important is that the trainer has specialized knowledge in working with the myriad conditions prevalent amongst even the most active seniors. Only by being well-versed in these issues can a trainer design exercise and fitness programs for senior clients that will actually help them.
In addition to my certification as a personal trainer, I also hold senior fitness certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA).
While all true personal training must be tailored to the individual person, it is even more important to do so for senior clients. So, while other areas of my website delve into specific how-to content, I prefer to save senior fitness strategies for direct interaction with my clients. Following are the senior fitness scenarios for which I employ best-practice training protocols:
Status: Already healthy and fit.
Goal: Maintain overall present fitness, including strength, endurance and flexibility. Introduce exercise variations to break through stalls and plateaus. Screen for and correct muscle imbalances. Introduce sport-specific improvement exercises (tennis, golf, hiking, etc.), as appropriate. Address body-weight concerns.
Status: Sedentary lifestyle, with no exercise or an insufficient amount of exercise to create a measurable health benefit. A senior living a sedentary lifestyle often has undesirable conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and general aches and pains which are associated with a physically inactive lifestyle.
Goal: Initially, improve strength, endurance, and flexibility from baseline starting points. Over time, further increase strength, endurance, and flexibility for every-day functional performance. Employ corrective exercises for identified muscular imbalances. Continue to improve restricted ranges of motion via flexibility training and trainer-assisted stretching.
Situational Senior Concerns
Status: Any level of present fitness, but experiencing one or more age-related issues, such as diminished balance, lost hand-strength, and weight-gain, amongst others.
Goal: Incorporate condition-specific training protocols into regular fitness training.
Specific Diagnosed Health Conditions
Personal trainers do not diagnose medical conditions or prescribe medical treatment. Only physicians and licensed health care providers are qualified to diagnose medical conditions. If your health care provider has cleared you for exercise, I can train you following established exercise protocols for the following conditions: