Functional fitness is of particular importance when working with older adults, since aging is accompanied by a progressive decline in multiple physiological functions, including the ability to perform daily activities. The topic of “functional aging” addresses this ability (or lack thereof) and is becoming more and more relevant, given the increase in people 65 and older and the disability rates in this population.
Learn the endocrine system’s pivotal role in aging and how exercise can impact it.Read More
In the past decade or so, the word functional has become a fitness industry buzzword, often referring to training systems and movements that take a different or unique approach, but not describing the approach with much specificity. Although there may be gray areas when it comes to defining functional training, most fitness professionals can agree that it focuses on enhancing natural movement through all planes of motion, thereby improving performance efficiency in everyday activities.Read More
A strong skeleton is just as important as a healthy heart.
Bones form the frame that keeps our bodies from collapsing and serve as a bank for minerals essential to multiple bodily functions. In fact, 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones and teeth (NIH n.d.). The skeleton anchors everything fitness professionals deal with every day: muscles, joints, tendons, the whole kinetic chain.Read More
As a fitness pro, you can’t fix the genetic and environmental contributors to bone loss, but you can encourage physical activity and proper nutrition, both of which improve bone health. More than 70% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity (Laskowski 2012), and 50% are considered deficient in vitamin D (Karaguzel & Holick 2010). One systematic review rated calcium, vitamin D, dairy and physical activity/exercise as the most important modifiable lifestyle factors that can influence the development of peak bone mass (NOF 2016).Read More
Bone loss and aging are inseparable: “The skeleton is a systemically regulated mass of mineralized material that is born, grows, reaches a more or less high peak, and then declines faster or slower as to develop a correspondingly high or low fracture risk”(Ferretti et al. 2003). Musculoskeletal aging—declining bone and muscle mass, increasing joint pain and stiffness, and decreasing physical mobility—is a normal part of aging. However, how rapidly or slowly bone mass declines depends on different factors.Read More
When working with any clients diagnosed with osteoporosis, you want to maximize the benefit, but you must also take care to avoid unnecessary risk. If mobility and posture are altered after a vertebral fracture, pay close attention to correct lifting technique and avoid pitfalls such as loading the spine in a flexed posture. For example, since exercise machines often require twisting and forward bending, you may need to avoid using them with clients who have osteoporosis (Giangregorio et al. 2014).Read More
The skeleton is composed of two types of bone: cortical and trabecular. Cortical (compact) bone comprises 80% of the volume in the adult skeleton and forms the outer layer of bone (Lerner 2012). Trabecular (cancellous) bone makes up the inner layer; has a spongy, honeycomb structure; and is mostly found in the skull, pelvis, sacrum and vertebrae. Although peak bone mass is reached in late adolescence, bones never stop changing. An adult skeleton replaces its bone mass every 10 years (OSG 2004).Read More
A strong skeleton is just as important as a healthy heart.
Bones form the frame that keeps our bodies from collapsing and serve as a bank for minerals essential to multiple bodily functions. In fact, 99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones and teeth (NIH n.d.). The skeleton anchors everything fitness professionals deal with every day: muscles, joints, tendons, the whole kinetic chain.
Fitness pros working with our graying population deal with the physical and cognitive losses of aging every day. But what about the social losses?
Aging is not just muscle and bone loss, weaker eyesight, and slower reaction times. It’s also retirement, bereavement and empty-nest syndrome. These fundamental shifts in the lifestyles of the elderly create social deficits—feelings of loneliness, social isolation and even depression—that can discourage adherence to fitness programs.
What is “normal” when it comes to eating food? Your definition might be based strictly on nutrition science, or it may be bound up in social constructs or a personal pathology. Here’s another definition: “Normal eating includes the ingestion of healthy foods, the intake of a mixed and balanced diet that contains enough nutrients and calories to meet the body’s needs, and a positive attitude about food” (Pereira & Alvarenga 2007). While this statement may seem a bit succinct for a complicated issue, it’s probably close to what we as fitness professionals tell our clients.Read More
Create an Inclusive Experience for Special Populations
by Maria Luque, PhD
More than 70% of Americans don’t exercise enough to obtain a health benefit (Laskowski 2012). Why is this percentage so high when it’s well-known that even a small amount of physical activity can improve and even prevent some chronic diseases? Gym memberships used to be too expensive for many; however, that’s no longer the case. In fact, there’s a membership for every budget, and joining a fitness facility has never been easier or more affordable. So if money isn’t the biggest deterrent, what is? Why aren’t people getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week?Read More
Menopause is different for each woman. Although the average age of natural menopause is 52, some women start the transition as soon as their early 40s. Chances are you have or will have clients who fit this profile. Are you aware of the unique challenges this population faces?Read More