Personal Training For Seniors

Personal Training For Seniors

How Personal Training for Seniors Improves the Effects of Obesity and Aging

It’s an unfortunate fact of this paradox known as human life – and life in general: We all age. With no way to turn back the hands of time nor slow the process down (literally, at least), coming to grips with this reality and learning how to best navigate the differentiating seas as they arrive is the most effective plan when coping with the aging cycle. Among the myriad of hurdles facing the elderly demographic the world over – from circulatory problems and memory deficiencies to mobility reduction, pain management and bowel control – the concept of obesity is one that’s often overlooked. Each elderly individual, at a certain point, is at an immensely different level of well-being and requires individualized programs when it comes to balanced, healthy nutrition. Another unfortunate fact of life is that as we get older it gets harder and harder to get up after we sit – some say it’s due to that “forever principle of gravity” while others believe it’s the unavoidable aging of the bones. As we get older, our lives become more sedentary, but that doesn’t mean that age should dictate whether we have an active, vital life or not. Obesity in the elderly community puts greater stress on joints, ligaments and bones that are already stressed and perhaps becoming more brittle. This makes tackling obesity during the golden years so much more vital than during many other parts of life (though obesity should be tackled at nearly any age). Exercise, and personal training for seniors, is key here: From breathing exercises that may involve “ribcage breathing” to alternate “nostril breathing” and posture routines that involve advanced stretches, it’s all about taking that first step towards keeping weight balanced and ideal in older age. A personal trainer with experience in working out with seniors can help add commitment to any senior exercise program. Senior personal trainers are available at gyms, studios, and can even teach you proper exercise techniques for seniors in the comfort of your home. While breathing and stretching doesn’t seem to have direct relation to anything having to do with obesity or weight, it’s a prelude to getting back on one’s feet faster. A certain ribcage breathing exercise can encompass:

• Lying on the back with knees bent and feet flat on floor, arms at the sides.

• Checking that the stomach is pulled in – like closing a tight belt – and neck and shoulders are relaxed.

• Slowly stretching arms straight over head while inhaling deeply through the nose, feeling the entire ribcage – front and back – lifting.

• Dropping one arm down at a time during exhale.

• Wobbling head and shoulders to relax before repeating. When it comes to flexibility exercises, anything that gets the body moving such as gardening, walking the dog and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can be considered “physical activity” while exercise is more a form of physical activity that is specifically planned, structured and repetitive. Weight training, tai chi or aerobics activities are included in this group, all working together to provide better health benefits. Further, the element of obesity comes into play here in the form of increasing the space between the ribcage and pelvis – this creates a space for the waistline, as it’s never too late to boast nice waist definition. Posture exercise classes with regard to the elderly can include straightening of the shoulders and keeping the head lifted for as long as possible throughout a day. Exercises that keep the joints mobile is the name of the game here, but care must be taken in how individuals in this demographic actually perform these exercises – instead of stiffening the joint, the muscles surrounding each joint (hips, knees, shoulders) must be worked to ensure mobility. Aging can also contribute to back pain. As we get older, the water content in the center of our discs diminishes and this causes the disc to flatten. Devoid of that “spongy interior,” the vertebrae get closer together in structure and we, unfortunately, lose some height. Examples of effective exercises for back pain include:

• Lying comfortably on one side, gently bending the lower leg while resting the upper leg in the space behind the knee.

• Putting a small pillow or the lower arm folded under the head is effective in keeping the neck relaxed.

• Raising the top leg to hip level.

• Tucking the stomach in and gently bending the knee towards the chest to feel the lower back stretching.

• Keeping the stomach tucked in and neck and shoulders relaxed, sliding the leg back to starting position while holding still and feeling the weight of the leg.

• Letting the leg drop down and letting go of the muscles followed by wobbling to loosen the body.

• Repeating three times and switching to do the same exercise on the other side. In summary, keeping the bones stretched and excess weight off the joints in the form of anti-obesity measures can go a long way in our elder years.

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