With the Baby Boomer population aging, movement professionals have to become more prepared to meet the needs of older adults. And while it may be tempting to think seniors need less when it comes to program development, clients of advanced age actually need more.
It’s not enough to modify the intensity or safety of their fitness programs. It’s also essential to understand how the mindset that older clients bring to a session—in this case a fear of falling—can influence their exercise needs.
Suspension exercise (SE) is a popular way to get fit for many people, and it’s no secret as to why. This method of exercise, where an apparatus attached to a single overhead anchor point supports the hands or feet, offers numerous benefits. Due to its popularity and the results people see from performing SE, programming has evolved to a point where fitness professionals are introducing it to their older-adult clients in the 65–80 and older age range.
PERMA-based fitness training can pack a positive punch for IDEA fitness professionals looking to contribute to the well-being of our fast-growing population of active older adults.
What Is PERMA?
PERMA is devoted to developing social and mental strength, which can be very helpful in motivating older exercisers. The acronym was coined by Martin Seligman, considered the father of modern positive psychology, in Flourish:
Exercise early in life—benefit later in life. That’s what researchers from Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory, in Indiana, concluded in a study published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology (2013; 114 , 3–10).
Scientists looked at “whole body aerobic capacity and myocellular markers of oxidative metabolism in lifelong endurance athletes and age-matched healthy, untrained men.”
Demonstrating the power of the mind-body connection, familiar music can lower stress and reduce sedative use among intensive-care-unit patients requiring ventilators, says a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2013; doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5670).
The term arthritis describes two distinctly separate medical conditions: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). RA is an autoimmune disease that results in swollen, painful joints, which are a contraindication to exercise. If a client has this symptom, ask him or her to wait until it has diminished before exercising.
In the first study to tease out the effects of different components of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, researchers have identified yoga and sitting meditation as particularly beneficial practices for promoting health among older adults.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 79% of Hispanic adults in the United States are overweight or obese. One possible way to improve that statistic is through the use of a virtual physical activity advisor, suggests a new study.