What to look for in a fitness program for seniors
Most Doctors will offer the same piece of advice for seniors who are looking to start up a health and fitness program - “Do the program that you will stick with”.
What does that even mean? And is that good advice?
The answer is…it depends.
First off, you can’t fit a round peg in a square hole. If you hate running, dont decide to start running marathons. Inevitably it will fail.
But…when we hear people coming into our gym for the first time say that “I hate gyms”…our response is always the same - you’ve not tried our gym before.
Becuase we tailor our programs to people over the age of 55, we understand exactly what seniors want in an exercise program. Generally - there’s three things:
#1 - Enjoyment - we aren’t slave drivers. Being Accredited Exercise Physiologists, Dietitian’s and Physiotherapists, we understand just how much our clients need to be pushed in order for them to achieve the results that they are looking for. Whether that is simply health and fitness, so something more, such as managing Diabetes, recovering from a heart condition or cancer, or moving better because of arthritis.
#2 - Rewards. in coming regularly, you are able to see the benefits fo the hard work you are putting in - not just by ‘how you feel’ but also in specific metrics that we outline
#3 - Social - Coming to our gym is fun and social. In fact, a lot of people come just for the coffee afterwards.
So once you’ve found this three things, how do we structure our program to make sure that you’llstick to it, and see the benefits?
The first thing you need to look at is your expectations. What do you want from your fitness program? If you set your expectations too high, you may be setting yourself up for failure. For example, we have a client who is a triathlete and trains very hard. She also realizes that, at age 57, she probably will not come in first. Her goal for her first event was to finish. As she has improved and competed in more events, she continues to challenge herself to improve her performance each time. It is best to start slowly and build up to a goal.
You need to choose a fitness program that is within your physical abilities. If you have medical problems that preclude certain activities, you need to eliminate them as choices for exercise. If you have had knee or hip replacement running may be out of the question, but walking could be a perfect alternative. Perhaps you are very limited in your mobility or even confined to a wheelchair.
Why you want to start a fitness program can be just as important as actually starting the program. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, then you probably have the right attitude. If you are trying to impress someone or doing it because everyone else is, you may be setting yourself up to fail.
How to Keep Up Motivation
If you are a very social person who needs a lot of encouragement, running or walking may not be your best fitness options. Perhaps an group class would be more stimulating. Do it with a friend and challenge each other to keep going.
Regardless of what fitness program you're following, keep track of your progress. Keep a chart on the refrigerator with your progress towards your goals. Keep a picture of yourself there to remind yourself why you are doing this. Remember to reward yourself when you reach a goal. Take a vacation, spend a day at the spa, or buy a new outfit — whatever it takes to keep you motivated.
To learn more about the program that we have developed for seniors to improve their strength, balance, and fitness, give us a call today.