Workout Plan for Seniors

Workout Plan for SeniorsAging is something that is inevitable.  With the increase in medical alert system technology and research in the medical field, it is more common to see individuals living well into their 80s, 90s, and even 100s.  However, in order to age in a healthy way, exercise, diet, and a healthy lifestyle are essential.  Senior adults, especially, are some of the most active groups around and the reasons for a surge in exercise are many.

Throughout the years, we often disregard certain elements in our training program.  Maybe we do a lot of arms, chest, or thighs days, but what about some of the other important muscles or muscle groups?  Can you think of the last time when you did balance training or anything to functionally help your health?

Functional Training

Senior adults need a particular style of training.  What this means is that exercise for the senior adult should be directed towards preventing falls, maintaining the muscle mass they have, and keeping it something that is worthwhile.  Did you know that one in every three adults, aged 65 years and older, fall each year and that falls are the leading cause of injury in the United States [1]?  Not only do falls cause billions of dollars in healthcare costs every year, but many senior adults place themselves at serious health risk with each fall, which suggests that balance or muscular issues may be at fault.

Health Complications

In addition to falls being a major problem among senior adults, there are many other health problems that surface in older age.  Hypertension affects over 63 percent of senior adults and this figure jumps even further once they reach 75 years of age.  Obesity affects one in three seniors, diabetes is another issue for many individuals, and arthritis affects at least 50 million Americans.  So what does this mean if you are a senior adult?

If you are a senior adult, the good news is that a sound exercise program can help you keep your functioning, help your blood pressure remain stable and healthier, and control your lipid panel profile including your blood sugar.  Listed below is a workout program that should be included in your lifestyle to help maintain the highest level of functioning as possible throughout the years.

Safe and Effective Workout Plan for Seniors

  • Warm-up. Warm-ups are important in any age group, but more importantly for seniors.  The warm-up should be about 10 minutes in duration and should include light cardio, range of motion, and activities that lightly elevate the heart rate.
  • Treadmill Walking. If you do this at home, you can substitute marching in place.  Start with a brisk 10 minute walk at a flat grade.   Your brisk walk should have you challenged enough to where this is no simple walk in the park, but also not so difficult that you cannot breathe.  Your breathing should appear to be a little faster and you might even have a little sweat on your forehead.
  • Sit-to-stands. Part of senior training involves functional exercise.  The most functional exercise around is the sit-to-stand.  Start in a seated position, feet shoulder width, and hands across your chest.  Attempt to move from a seated position to a standing position without using your hands or arms.  Return to a seated position without using your hands or arms for assistance.  Repeat this for a total of three sets of 10 and only do what your body is capable of.
  • Toe Stands. Toe standing is great for balance and it is a great way to work the ankles and calf muscles.  Complete about three sets of 15-20 reps to get a great lower leg workout.
  • Abdominal and core strength is a crucial element in any training, but it is especially critical in the senior adult population.  Good core strength will help prevent spinal issues and it can even help keep the lower back healthy and free from pain.  Lower back pain is quite prevalent in the older populations so make sure to keep the core strong.
  • Single-Leg Stands. Part of working balance involves standing on one foot for a certain amount of time.  Two or three sets of 20 seconds each foot/leg will surely help practice and work on your balance.  If this becomes easy, close one eye while standing on one foot.
  • Tandem Walking. A tandem walk is difficult.  It involves taking steps with one foot out in front of the other down a straight line (this has been seen as a field sobriety test).  Work on this type of walking to help maintain proper balance and to work the vestibular system.
  • Stretching.  Any workout needs a sufficient stretching routine and this is very true in the senior population.  A gentle range of motion or stretching routine working every joint is highly recommended to help maintain a high range of motion.  In addition, proper stretching will help muscles and muscle groups from becoming too tight, which could cause strain.

 

References

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

[2] http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319587.pdf

[3] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db106.htm

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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