you have a range of responses here, and I think the ideas are good: make sure if they have specific conditions that they get medical clearance, individualize for the specific needs of the people who come to you, and so on.
I will mention a couple of things that I have found generally helpful with the group senior classes I teach. Some will need chairs or some other method for balance, so it is good to have them available as needed. It is also good to offer options for those who find getting up and down from the floor difficult. I also think an emphasis on functionality is really helpful. I have some yoga work that is helpful when dealing with bunions that I like to use… a lot of seniors find that helpful. I also like to work on ankle and neck stability and flexibility for my seniors who are still driving. And pelvic floor exercises seem to be really appreciated by many. Particularly with elderly women there are issues of stress incontinence. I also encourage a good bit of light banter and friendly interaction. Their health is as positively impacted by the human interaction as by the exercise.
I really don’t treat any of my clients, seniors or older clients or athletes or fitness, very differently. They go through an assessment phase. They all have their programming designed around their needs. They all progress/regress as indicated. I have two senior clients running marathons (though I am not big on that much running) and an athlete that is in a restart because they overtrained for so long. Your senior client or group can do anything any other class is doing, but they may need to do it slower with less ROM and less intensity. I worked with a senior that was a boxer in his youth. He wanted to jump rope again, but was struggling with getting over the moving rope. We elimiated the rope for a month and he just went through the motions of jumping rope. We added the rope and he walked over it as it slowly swung around. Then he did a little one foot a time hop over. And then a slow two foot hop. Then built up speed. He isn’t doing anything fancy with the rope, but he now jumps rope like he wanted to in the beginning.
I do recommend all clients get physicians clearance and recommendations. And that the instructor know in detail any medical issues and the possible impact/modifications those issue may have/require.
So, suggestion wise, what would you do with a health client? And how can you modify those things for your senior clients?
Functional work such as sitting and standing-ball tossing- eye hand reaction such as holding their arms out in front of their bodies and touching their first fingers together, while step touching.
I have my clients pick things up off the floor, and carry it to another location and put it down.
Walking up and down stairs, boxing, light weight work, however my 76 year old uses 15 pound dumbbells for her chest presses and can do 25 pushups !
Hello Lisa Hyman,
Seniors are as diverse with abilities as the rest of the population. The one idea that stands out is to work on flexibility and balance. Gentle moves to protect joints is also helpful. Other than that, treat each as an individual with progressions and regressions for the participant to choose their intensity. You will need to be sure that no one overdoes it; check closely for lack of proper form.
If you are not able to get through to someone, prevent embarrassment and discouragement by changing the exercise.
Rubber resistance seems to be popular: light and portable. Body weight is usually enough resistance when moving the body strategically.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.