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Special Populations: Older Adults ~ 65+

Strength, power, muscular endurance, cardio, and metabolism naturally decrease as we age once we pass about 30 years of age.  Not everything goes down however; body fat increases.  We’ll also likely need to get a medical clearance to workout with a trainer or in a gym setting.  Also, beneficial to older adults is a thorough, longer warm-up (perhaps include some stretching) almost doubling the warm-up time of a 25-year-old.  Exercise is beneficial for a lifetime.  The focus for older adults will be maintaining current health or a steady progression.  The emphasis will be on balance in order to prevent falls.  And, exercise will strengthen bones by increase or maintaining bone density.  Most of the activities of daily living, cooking, cleaning, bathing, will be much easier to perform when exercise is also part of a regular routine.  This will mean at least and normally about 2 training sessions per week.  Again, nutrition is often an overlooked area.  Protein intake is important and often protein foods require a lot of chewing making them a less desirable food choice.  This is within the realm of comfort.  Considering comfort, performing exercises in a manner within a comfortable position are most preferred.  This also means that exercises that may increase intracranial pressure should be avoided (blood pressure) for safety.  (Do not perform “head below hips” or Valsalva techniques.)

–       Light Stretching

–       Progressive overload (start light)

–       Beginner’s Workout (total body, 2 * a week, 10-15 reps at a 2:4 tempo)

–       Stable Exercises, progress to standing & weight-bearing exercises

–       Monitor RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)  Take a break if needed.

–       Limit soreness (negatives, volume (total reps), intensity techniques (drop sets), and new exercises all cause soreness)

You can be an older adult and perform physically better than some 25 year olds.  These are general guidelines for older adults and a general good place to start for most.  When an exercise is difficult to perform, find a way to make the resistance easier.  If you find the exercise is still difficult, performing partial range of motion is acceptable.  However, there should never be pain and exercises should be fun.  The reason most people do anything is that it’s fun.  If it’s not fun, we won’t likely continue.  Something to consider especially if you’re an older adult and don’t enjoy living.  … Find something to be passionate about, something that moves your mind and body.  This could be interacting with grandchildren, vacations, language exchanges with new friends, and other life activities.

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