After almost 20 years in the gym environment, I have learned quite a lot.
But one of the most relevant things I've learned is that it is never too late to get active and make a positive change to your health.
My eldest client is currently 72 years of age and still going strong. We have clients who come three times a week and live in an elder care facility. We have senior couples who still, after all these years, encourage each other to be active every day. They stay active in order to play, travel, and LIVE every day for their grandchildren.
At 62, one of my female clients learned how to surf. At 58, another one of my clients decided to "try" strength training and eat well, and is now in the best shape of his life.
There are programs I give some of my elder clients that I could never give to some of my 30-year-old clients. As we get older, maybe we have better mental strength to get The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia conducted a one-year follow-up study on seniors. Seniors who participated in a strength-training exercise program showed sustained cognitive benefits.
Of course, we also now know that active seniors put less strain on the healthcare system, for many reasons.
The study showed that 12 months of once weekly or twice weekly progressive strength training improved executive cognitive function necessary for independent living in women aged 65 to 75 years old.
Strength training for seniors has been shown to:
• improve coordination
• improved balance
• speed up thought processes
• increase strength (adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20)
• improve mobility
• reduce falls
• reduce hip and knee injury
• improve outlook on life
• improve cardiovascular health
• increase energy
• improve sex drive
• decrease irritability
• reduce osteoporosis
• reduce fat percentage (research in senior strength training has demonstrated a four-pound fat loss after three months of training)
• build self confidence and self esteem
• reduce arthritic pain
• alleviate low back and hip pain
As with any aging individual, the more the senior improves nutritionally, the more they will benefit from a strength conditioning program.
Find someone who has trained with seniors before, or find an activity you really love to do and get actively involved.
Understanding that you may have to scale the workouts or activity or sport to your current ability, enjoy the time you have to be active now. Anything is better than nothing.
This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.