Exercise for the older adult

Ageing is inevitable, and affects every single one of us. We tend to bury thoughts of aging because they can make us feel uncomfortable.  We are living in an aging world and figures from the last census tell us there are more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 16.  Life expectancy for both men and women has continued to rise.

Many older people live active and healthy lives for many years over the age of 50, but for those who have chronic conditions the pain and fear of harming themselves will be a major barrier to increasing activity levels.  This can prevent older adults from participating in activities that could ease their symptoms, prevent further deterioration of their condition and the onset of other health problems that are the outcome of a sedentary lifestyle.

What are the physiological changes as we age?  

Why use a personal trainer?

I’ve worked with the ‘older adult’, ‘more mature’, ‘senior citizen’, 50, 60 and 70+, ‘Wrinklies’ (their word not mine) for the past 24 years and can honestly say they remain the age group that are the most dedicated and get the most enjoyment from a personally designed fitness programme, whether their goal be to run a marathon, keep up with newly exploring grandchildren or just be able to pick things up off the floor without having to climb back up the furniture “like an old person” (yes that was an actual goal of one client).

The one thing that working with this age group has taught me is that it never gets any easier - so seize the day - don’t leave it 'til you’re really ‘old’.  Not one client I’ve ever met has said “I’m glad I waited 'till now before I got fit.”

Most of the older adults that I have taught have employed me so that they don’t need to worry about whether they are doing too much or too little, so that they don’t need to learn about the
components of fitness and how to relate that to their stage of life, and for the privacy of my gym where they don’t feel ‘quite so daft’.

What exercise can do for you.

Aerobic exercise:

- Increases calorie expenditure.
- Improves the efficiency of the heart muscle.
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Improves the flow of oxygenated blood to the muscles.
- Moderate to high intensity physical activity may prevent age related decline in resting lung function.

Strength/resistance training

Exercise programmes for older adults should focus on increasing muscle mass particularly in the back, buttocks and legs.  Many of the age related changes of muscle function could be minimised or reversed. 

Resistance training will also;
- Improve bone health - reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improve postural stability - reducing the risk of falls.
- Increase calorie expenditure by improving muscles.
- Increase flexibility and range of movement.
Successful ageing refers to the likelihood of retaining physical fitness, functional independence and psychological wellbeing into old age.
Lesley Snowdon - Personal Trainer, Counsellor & Diet Coach - Combining the services of a personal trainer and nutrition consultant with the empathic understanding of a qualified counsellor. Based in Wolverhampton.
I will help you achieve your health and fitness goals both mentally and physically.
Lesley Snowdon  is a member of the register of exercise professionals
Personal Fitness Trainer local to Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bilston, Sedgley, Coseley, Oldbury
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Personal Trainer, Counsellor & Diet Coach
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