Posts Tagged ‘Fitness’

Seniors And Their Workouts

May 24, 2012

Due to my education and work experience I train seniors. For my purpose I define those 65 or over as a senior. In fact at any given time in the past 12 years I have had 5 or more people over 80 on my client list. It’s a very different time of life.  This period can be filled with excitement, retrospect and angst. One thing is for sure these people look at their health and fitness in a very different light than they did even 5 years before. There is true purpose behind their training.

So what is different about their workouts? What is different about their attitudes, now compared to when they were younger?  Can they really improve even if they have never been involved with organized workouts before? What is the best activity for maximum results?

Generally workouts are different for seniors compared to those 10 and 20 years their junior. Whereas at one point a person might have been concerned about her agility and reflexes while getting around a tennis court that same person later in life is more concerned about navigating a busy day at the mall, being active with their grandchildren and at the most base level being able to perform activities of daily living.

Attitudes and sense of purpose are just as directed whether the person is in their 20’s or their 70’s, 80’s and beyond. In fact I have found that the seniors I work with are more consistent than their younger counterparts and they see their purpose to be more imperative.

Guidelines established for older adults by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services require 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise and two or more days of weight training. Exercise physiologist Barbara Bushman of Missouri State University says fitness routines must include resistance training for muscle and bone health. Weak muscles and bones can lead to falls and broken bones, and time doing rehabilitation in nursing homes. Greg Warshaw, chair of the division of geriatrics at the University of Cincinnati says “Most people don’t understand the effect of deconditioning. We get more illnesses as we get older. If you’re in good shape and you get bad illnesses, you’re likely to recover faster. That’s another reason why exercise is so important to people as they age.” (USA Today May 10, 2011)

So what if someone has lived their lives so far not exercising? Do they have a long way to catch up so they can compete in a push-up contest or start running sprints? Well not at all. In fact it turns out that the largest increment of mortality benefit is seen when comparing sedentary adults with those in the next highest physical activity level. In other words avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle by engaging in at least some daily physical activity is recommended for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases and postponing premature mortality at any age.

The National Institutes of Health states that the four main types of exercise that seniors need are

  • Endurance activities – walking, swimming, or riding a bike.
  • Strengthening exercises which build muscle tissue and reduce age-related muscle loss
  • Stretching to help keep the body limber and flexible
  • Balance exercises to reduce the chances of falls

Although no amount of physical activity can stop the biological aging process, there is evidence that regular exercise can minimize the physiological effects of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle and increase active life expectancy by limiting the development and progression of chronic disease and disabling conditions.

The seniors that I work with bring a very different energy to the gym compared to their younger counterparts. They are very happy to be participating in life. They’re not concerned anymore with lifting the heaviest weights or running marathons. A lot of them see their contemporaries struggling and they’re concerned with maintaining what they have. And they want to live in this part of their lives as fully as they possibly can.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at


Got Your Back????

May 31, 2011

How’s your neck feel? How about the top of your shoulders? Do you have a tightness between your shoulder blades?

Well it turns out your not alone.

In the last couple of years I’ve had several of the executives I train complain of these symptoms. Even to the point of seeking out medical advice.

I only bring up that they’re executives because this is one of a few things that these people have in common. They sit at a desk in front of a computer. Other common traits are that they are in high stress occupations. And another is that they workout every chance that they can (very frequently). You would think that the latter would be their saving grace.

When it comes to weight training balance is what you want to strive for. You see the one body part you don’t want to forget about is your BACK. The reason that a lot of people who do resistance training suffer with upper back problems is that they forget to include back exercises. The tone and muscle that is made, especially with chest moves pulls your shoulders in and forward. Combine this with sitting at a desk and not taking the time to consider correct posture and you’ve got the formula for a tight neck and shoulders…..OF COURSE!!!

But take time to strengthen your back and you can counteract this.

In a previous post I listed chest and back as the 2 upper body parts to always train. But you must include your back both upper and lower. Lowers should be trained with your ab moves to make it a complete core workout. And upper back is just as important due to its connection with your posture.

Back exercises include dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns and pullovers and the list goes on and on. There are plenty of movements to perform so that you can counter the effect your other upper body training is doing to your posture.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

It’s Easy……Really!!

January 8, 2010

My partner and I were invited to go on a mountain bike ride with another trainer and her clients. A separate friend who was going on the same trip told me that we should have a great time. That it was an easy course and not to worry since she is slow we wouldn’t be alone in the back.

One thing you should know is that the trainer organizing the ride trains primarily those preparing for triathlons.

It was a beautiful morning and the pack left the parking lot. Not long after leaving the start we slowly made our way to the back. In fact it wasn’t long after that, that we actually lost sight of them.

We didn’t know the course they were following but we knew the area pretty well. So instead of packing it in we headed for trails that we knew. We ended up having a really good time.

This incident sparked a very interesting discussion about why people exercise. I could get very detailed here but suffice it to say that there are 3 different reasons to exercise.

One is for sport, another for fitness, and yet another for enjoyment.

None of these can be seen as better than the others but they certainly are at different levels of difficulty and intensity.

My friend who said she was slow and that the course was easy trains primarily for sport.

My partner trains for fitness and enjoyment.

How do you view others? Do you expect them to be as competent as you, at what you do?

Trainers, where do you set the bar for your clients? Do you compare them to yourself? Or do you set the task relative to their fitness level?

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at