Functional Aging/Older Adults
Personal trainers often have female clients over the age of 40 who have similar complaints about losing muscle mass and gaining body fat. Although these changes aren’t unexpected and can be a normal part of the aging process, they are not inevitable. In fact, the right resistance-training program can positively affect body composition by reducing fat, maintaining and building muscle, and increasing strength in this population.
Are customized routines really better than a standard protocol? One recent study posed this question in reference to tai chi: Is it better to offer a standard tai chi sequence or to individualize moves to a person’s needs?
Hip fractures have serious consequences, including an increased risk of death within the first year following the accident. Findings from a recent study offer good news on the benefits of physical activity for postmenopausal women.
Noting that 1 in 5 Americans will be over 65 by 2030 and that skeletal mass, strength and functional loss represent health risks, the National Strength and Conditioning Association has released its first position stand on older-adult resistance training.
Here’s motivating news for older adults and those who train them. New research shows that older men, even in their 80s, can build muscle mass regardless of training background.
Fitness professionals know that resistance exercises are pivotal for maintaining and increasing muscle strength and mass as well as thwarting the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, particularly as we age. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recently addressed these issues in the organization’s first position stand on resistance training for older adults (ages 65 and older).
High-intensity workouts may improve memory performance in older adults, according to a study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. The findings may be critical for developing new treatment plans for dementia and cognitive decline.
Older adults are more susceptible to deficits in cardiovascular fitness, muscle mass, strength and power, which may ultimately lead to losses in physical function. The following chair-based format focuses on improving outcomes for older participants, especially those who may need the support of a chair during exercise. Ready, Set, Sit! offers the variety of three 15-minute training segments (cardiovascular, high intensity and strength/power), while targeting important components that boost overall function.
It’s been a banner 12 months for masters athletes.
Here’s one more solid reason to inspire kids to exercise. The secret to maintaining cognitive fitness later in life may lie in getting active while young and staying active throughout teen, young-adult and middle-aged years.
Here’s a good reason to encourage your midlife clients to try an inaugural running event. First-time marathon runners who trained for 6 months saw a 4-year reduction in arterial age, according to study findings presented at EuroCMR 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology.
Clients may ask you about calories or how to “tone,” but how often do they ask questions about bone health and osteoporosis? If clients aren’t asking these questions, they should: 54 million adult Americans are at risk of breaking a bone (NOF 2019a). You probably already know that people who have osteoporosis should do weight-bearing exercises to slow the degradation and ease the effects. However, most people are given no more explanation than that. You may be in a position to offer answers to some of your clients’ questions.
In another clinical trial examining the impact of time of day on training effects, researchers found that cycling at moderate intensity for 45 minutes three times per week in the evening decreased clinical and ambulatory blood pressure in 50 middle-aged sedentary men with hypertension more than either morning training or stretching (the control group).
The time of day your male clients train may affect their appetite and performance.
People with osteoarthritis who walk briskly as little as 1 hour per week can significantly increase their odds of remaining functionally independent. Northwestern University researchers in Chicago examined more than 4 years of data from more than 1,500 adults—age 49 or older—who had arthritis but no disability. Their activity levels varied. Activity data analysis showed that people who did 1 hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week had a higher probability of remaining free from disability than those who exercised less.
For maintaining functional ability—and potentially even for living longer—growing research
supports the benefits of power training, particularly as we age. Power is the ability to move weight with speed and to generate force and velocity with coordinated movement.
Keeping physically active or becoming more active during middle and older age is associated with a lower risk of death, regardless of past activity levels or existing health conditions, suggests a large United Kingdom study published in the June 26 issue of The BMJ.
Many older adults could benefit from dropping a few pounds of body fat. With weight loss, though, there are often reductions in bone strength and lean body mass, thereby raising the risk of mobility issues and injury from falls. New research shows that a diet tweak might help older people retain their muscle while simultaneously scaling down their body fat.
Great news for healthy older adults who may not be able to weight-train more than once a week. For 65- to 75-year-old men and women, supervised whole-body resistance training once weekly for 6 months led to significantly less inflammation, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and better overall well-being.
CLIENT: Brenda Badish
PERSONAL TRAINER: Kelly Fletcher
LOCATION: KFit Studios, Brighton, Michigan
Brenda Badish had almost given up hope that she could regain her health. “I figured I was a few weeks away from pushing up the daisies,” she says.