When it comes to working with elderly people, it is important to consider some aspects to training design for seniors. The usual trainings for other clients do not work with this type of public and, in addition, they can be dangerous.
Workouts for seniors: before anything, a medical examination is necessary.
Before designing a training plan for an older person, it is essential to have a medical examination. This test will determine what type of exercises can be included and which ones must be left out in the training program. Many older adults will come to you with illnesses and conditions that can make traditional cardio training challenging and possibly dangerous; this is why it is so important to first determine his/her overall physical condition.
Some of the diseases that can influence the development of the training programme and that are usually common among the elderly population, are high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc. Other seniors may experience limited mobility, lack of balance, poor vision and general weakness. All these conditions require a personalized workout.
Walking: high effective training tool.
Walking could be a highly effective training tool for people who are unable to perform traditional cardio workouts. For senior clients, walking is a good and effective form of cardio. A good way to encourage seniors to walk is to let them start at their own pace, and gradually and depending on the results, change distances and time. If he/she walks outdoors, it is important to make recommendations about exercise for hot or cold days and other unfavorable weather conditions.
Water aerobics: no risk of falling and low-impact cardio.
Exercising in the water is an excellent form of low-impact cardio for all types of exercisers, but it is especially effective for older adults, so it is a very good idea to include this type of training in a workout plan for seniors.
Water offers an ideal form of resistance exercise and the range of motion that an older adult with limited mobility can handle. In addition, for all those people who have balance problems, it prevents falls and associated injuries, although it is important to take special care on slippery soils once the participants are out of the water.
Important when working with senior clients.
Here are some very useful tips when working with elderly clients:
- Observe their breathing, perspiration and skin tone pre- and post-workout.
- The talk test is a more useful indicator of intensity for this group than the Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale or a heart-rate monitor.
- Review and make adjustments to your clients’ workouts based on their results and your observations.
- Contact a medical professional when necessary.
- Make your senior client feel special. Keep in mind that sometimes you will be the only person your senior client interacts with throughout the day, sometimes throughout the week, so be sure to make his/her time with you special.