Seniors fall under the “specialized population”. There are many options for personal trainers to get additional training in the area.Focus on what is functional for them and would benefit them in their everyday life. A PAR-Q should be completed, and a clearance from the client’s doctor.
Any small activity is better then a day in the recliner!
Since your client does fall into a specialized population category, it would be helpful to see your profile and background. That being said, medical clearance from your client’s doctor is needed if you don’t already have that. A senior assessment may or may not be necessary, but it’s definitely something to consider. It is important to have a thorough understanding of how someone of an advanced age responds to exercise, and also take into consideration aging joints such as hips, knees, back, and shoulders–and range of motion.
In general, and once you know your client’s medical history and limitations, I would focus on activities of daily living. Many things that we tend to take for granted (such as getting up from a chair or reaching for an object) can be difficult for some seniors. Seated chair exercises may help your client if he has trouble getting around. You can add some range of motion and flexibility exercises to help the joints. You would have to evaluate whether or not your client could do some very light strength training as well.
Go slow with this client, and I hope some of these suggestions help.
Wendy & Christine have given you great advice so far. I have a few clients myself who are in their 80’s. Actually the three of them (all women) get around pretty well, without the use of any walking aids. At that age, one of the greatest concerns is falling. I definitely incorporate balance exercises into their workout sessions, in addition to their strength, CV & flexibility exercises. So far, so good. Strength training- wise, I keep the movements simple, mainly using light dumbbells, tubing & some easy-going body weight exercises. I take them to the point where they’re just slightly past their comfort zone. I do push them, but only to the point where they start asking me “how much do they have left” – you’ll see what I mean. Good luck Tom.
the operative word here is ‘walker’ and not age. As Paul and Christine suggested, balance, flexibility and strength exercises are very important. Given that he is on a walker, cardiovascular exercises in the traditional sense are not an option but you can help him assume better posture while using the walker.
Since your profile is not completed, it’s difficult to know your background. As Wendy suggests, there is specialty training for exercises for older adults. What you will be able to do with this person depends a lot on his current ability.
All good advice from the above, especially in regards to your qualifications and a doctor’s clearance. Assuming you are qualified, once you have physician clearance your focus should be balance and strength. Since he is using a walker you must work where he is. Many older adults do well on a recumbent bike for cardio, but strength training is critical in maintaining quality of life.
I would ask all not to underestimate this population. I have a woman in her 80’s who takes my regular body sculpting class, and my 86 year old mother attends her gym 3 days a week, taking regular Zumba, Body Pump and step. So it is not his age, but his current physical condition that limits him.