It is never too late to start an exercise program. In fact physical inactivity could be more of a major risk to your health.
Consider the Statistics:
Here are a few interesting statistics: In the year 2000, roughly 35 million people (13 percent of the population) were age 65 or older. By 2030, the number is expected to double. According to the Active Aging Partnership National Blueprint, 88% of these people have at least one chronic health condition that in many cases may be improved or managed with physical activity.
Did You Know? The Average Person Actually Gains about a Pound and Half of Body Fat a Year!
Once adults pass the physical prime of their teens and 20’s, an average of 10 ounces of lean body mass in the form of muscle is lost yearly. Since few people actually lose 10 ounces of weight a year (instead, we are more likely to gain about a pound a year), the loss of muscle is masked. The average person actually gains about a pound and half of body fat a year. This gradual loss of muscle strength is one of the main reasons the older population has difficulty performing daily activities. Ultimately, this leads to the loss of an individual’s independence. It is important to remember a slight increase in muscle strength, at any age, can improve a person’s quality of life, and prevent the frailty that use to be considered a normal part of aging.
Endurance. Balance. Flexibility.
Older, inactive adults lose ground in three areas that are important for staying healthy and independent. These are endurance, balance and flexibility. Endurance training can maintain and improve cardiovascular function, which reduces the risk factors associated of diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease. Balance exercises help prevent falls and builds confidence, while flexibility training helps to keep the body from stiffening up by stretching muscles that are limiting motions needed to perform daily activities.
Whether you are approaching 60 or 70, I encourage you to increase all types of exercise and physical activity. According to an article in the winter of 2002 Aging Successfully, published by the St. Louis School of Medicine and Geriatric Research, the goals of exercise for the older adult should be to minimize the effects of aging and chronic disease, reverse the effects of inactivity and maximize psychological health.
Regular exercise will help the older adult. The older population becomes sick or disabled more often from not exercising. Almost all older adults can improve their health and independence through exercise and physical activity. There are few reasons to keep from exercising, and “too old” and “too frail” are not among them.
I have the honor of working with clients in their 70’s and 80’s, they are the easiest clients to train. Most of these individuals have never lifted a dumbbell or pulled a cable in their entire life. They are a clean slate, in terms of movement patterns. Poor movement patterns take longer to undo, than teaching a new movement pattern.
One aspect of training the older adult, that has to respected, is they have to feel safe and secure when training. The older adult may come to you with a degree of fear that they will get injured. A good trainer can eliminate that fear, which will empower the client.
When starting an exercise program, no matter what your age may be, it is best to work with a qualified certified personal trainer.
If you have had experience of working with the older population and can share additional insight, your thoughts and comments are welcome. If you are a client, that is considered an older adult, and have worked with a trainer please share your experiences. Your comments too, are greatly appreciated.
Be Healthy for a Lifetime!
Linda DeFever, CPT