The world’s elderly population is growing fast. During the span from 2000 to 2040 it is anticipated that Americans 65 and older will grow from 35 million to 80 million, a 228% increase (see U.S. Census Bureau chart, below). Although many economic and social concerns arise from this drastic increase, this post will focus on the anticipated fitness and nutritional needs of the elderly in order to maximize their independent living through mobility. And, I’ll do so within the context of my own experience as a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach.
Other Motivations For Elderly Fitness
First, I must mention another layer of statistics that heighten my concerns and drive my own professional motivations toward the 65+ client group. Over the previous two years we witnessed the vulnerability of the elderly to a highly contagious virus. Those with “co-morbidities”, many of which were chronic diseases resulting from overweight or obese status, were especially susceptible. In its aftermath, there is an obvious need for better education on fitness and nutritional solutions. Unfortunately, our health bureaucracies, political leaders and media failed to point this out during the crisis.
Finally, what I’m seeing with elderly clients, especially those over 75, is mobility problems. To be more precise, significant muscle imbalance that is causing postural dysfunction, resulting in degraded mobility. And since all of these clients are attempting to live independently, or semi-independently, resolving this dysfunction is critical. Furthermore, if elderly clients are overweight or obese, the dysfunction is exacerbated and more difficult to correct.
The Proven Approach
Following a comprehensive assessment, the client is provided a program that will focus on improving balance and stability, flexibility, strength and cardiopulmonary efficiency. In many cases, the goal is functional physical movement, including learning to walk again. The process can take some time and might seem daunting. But, the fact is this approach works. With a little patience and commitment, it’s a worthy and realistic goal.
As the client improves, I progress the workouts accordingly in order to meet new client goals.
The One-Two Punch Knockout Of Obesity
As both a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, when I encounter obesity and immobility with an elderly client, I strongly recommend the synergistic progress that can be achieved by combining exercise and healthy nutrition. The trouble with exercising an obese elderly person who also has postural dysfunction and muscle inbalance is that they are unlikely to be able to perform specific exercises. Often times, alternative exercises are not as efficient as those initially recommended. However, if the client is able to shed significant weight, their exercise options increase and they benefit from compounded effects of exercise and healthy nutrition. Therefore, the process is expedited.
If you or a loved one are in this situation and would like a free assessment, I am available to discuss. Assessments can be done in person, or on Zoom (all 50 states). Call or text Coach Mick at 678-491-0332, or fill out our CONTACT FORM.