Exercise Programs for Older Adults. Part 5

Thursday, September 27, 2012 12:06
Posted in category Fitness

€ Identify the basic purpose of each exercise, and always use the safest alternatives available. The benefits of each exercise should be explained to the clients.

€ Try to foresee and eliminate situations or conditions that may result in problems.

€ Older adults often enjoy using equipment during a group class to add variety. Equipment that does not require excessive gripping is recommended, since joint problems can be exacerbated by prolonged gripping. Equipment should only be used for a portion of the program, and in adherence to the concept of progressive overload.

€ Older adults may need to spend more time warming up to release synovial fluid in the joints and deliver oxygen to the muscles. Clients should be comfortably warm before vigorous or high-intensity workouts begin.

€ The intensity of the workout should be modified according to individual fitness levels. The older adult who is unfit should begin exercise at the low end of the target zone or perceived exertion chart. Remember that heart rates will often be affected by medications. Progressive overload should be extremely gradual in terms of frequency, duration and intensity.

€ Fine-motor skills should be included in the programming. Exercise practitioners often spend time working only major muscle groups, but older adults also need to work the smaller muscles in the body to improve fine-motor skills. (Simply opening and closing the hands is an example of a fine-motor skill.)

€ Programs for older adults should use music from their era. Music such as big band, ragtime and Broadway hits is enjoyable for older adults. They like the subtle rhythms from their time more than the pounding rhythms of today. Also, avoid using high volumes. Some older adults even prefer not to have any music during their workout, as it interferes with hearing the instructor.

€ The program format should include time for socializing while exercising, touching (some older adults who live alone no longer have anyone close enough to them to touch them), and working on balance or coordination activities.

The active senior

Former stereotypes of the decrepit senior are changing. Many of today’s older adults are vibrant and active ‹ they jog, travel, remain socially and politically active, and enjoy learning.(15) The 21st century will see a new kind of older adult: healthier, better educated and more financially secure.(7,10) You and your facility must be prepared to deliver appropriate exercise programs to all types of older adults.

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