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Before initiating any exercise training, older adults should receive medical clearance from their primary care physician. Safe forms of exercise for apparently healthy older adults include light forms of stretching, aerobic exercise, core and strength-training exercises. However, all exercises should be performed with precise technique to minimize risk of injury. Below is a brief list of guidelines:
- Frequency: 3-5 days per week
- Duration: 30-60 minutes
- Aerobic exercise: light to moderate intensity
- Resistance training: 8-20 repetitions, 1-3 sets. Opt for exercises from a seated position and progress to a standing position.
- Considerations: Start slow and progress based on your physical capabilities
You first want to get the OK from your physician. After getting approval from your doctor, you should have an assessment done by certified personal trainer to ensure an appropriate beginning point and progression sequence. When starting an exercises program at 75 you must be careful, you may or may not have limitations resulting from chronic health conditions. Exercises of higher intensity and/or involving high repetitions are to be avoided, to decrease joint aggravation. A repetition range of 10-12 is suitable for the arthritic senior. Also, a circuit program or multiple session format (a few shorter duration sessions per day, rather than one longer session) are suitable for clients with osteoarthritis. Your trainer will most likely start off with supervised exercises like the following.
- Seated Chest Press machine
- Standing two arm cable row
- Seated two arm DB Scaption
- Stability Ball Wall Squats
- Cardio on an Elliptical Trainer
Before beginning any exercise program, and for your safety, it is important to obtain a medical clearance from your physician. Inform your professional fitness trainer of any medical conditions or any physical inability you have to help better serve you.
After the initial physical assessment with your trainer, a low intensity workout program, tailored to your own needs, would be appropriate to start with and then progress gradually to higher intensity program.
There are no limits on what you can do. As long, as you are able to do it injury free, safely and feeling good with every day’s practice, the sky is the limit!
Before starting any exercise program, a healthy, older adult should consult a physician for exercise clearance as well as for specific information regarding his/her condition and ability to exercise safely.
Training should begin with a professional assessment like a PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) as well as a movement assessment like a squat that can be performed in a variety of positions. These assessments can reveal pre-existing conditions and information that needs to be considered in designing an appropriate exercise program.
Cardio exercise options can include:
-Stationary or recumbant cycling
-Treadmill with handrail support
Basic guidelines for healthy seniors include working out 2-5 times per week for 20-45 min or 8-10 minute bouts.
Flexibility work should be included like foam rolling (self-myofacial release) and static stretching if it can be tolerated. If not, slow rhythmic stetches should be performed.
Resistance training can be very effective for the senior. Individuals can start slowly with 1-3 sets, 8-10 exercises, 8-20 repetitions with lower weights/resistance for 20-30 minutes. Seated machines progressing to standing exercises can be selected. Again, get a physician's clearance before starting and always consider pre-existing conditions that can affect one's ability to perform resistance exercises.
Exercisers must remember to breath normally throughout the workout and to progress slowly and with professional guidance to be sure proper form and control is demonstrated. Progression should depend on postural control.
The overall health and well being of a senior can be dramatically improved with exercise. The key is to be careful and aware of physiologic considerations that can impact exercise selection and programming. Consult a physician and a fitness professional before getting started!
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.