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Personal Training Programs for the Elderly

author image T.J. Jenkins
T.J. Jenkins is an avid health and fitness enthusiast who specializes in post rehabilitation fitness. He holds certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine in corrective exercise and sports performance along with a Bachelor's degree in health science with an exercise science concentration from the American Military University.
Personal Training Programs for the Elderly
An elderly woman is training with dumbbells. Photo Credit: Image Source Pink/Image Source/Getty Images

Personal trainers implement and promote the use of safe and effective exercise programs through appropriate client screening, consultation and evaluation. Typically these programs consist of some form of resistance training, cardiovascular activity, flexibility training and other functional training methods. Using these programs, personal trainers motivate and educate their clients to improve their levels of fitness and maintain their health and well-being.

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Personal Training and the Elderly

As you age, your muscles begin to shrink and lose mass and your strength decreases. Additionally, the speed at which your body converts food to energy slows, your flexibility is reduced and your bones become more fragile. Some individuals will stay active and alert throughout their lives, while others may have a harder time and experience common conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, which can lead to a decrease in activity and quality of life. Regular exercise and activity provided by a personal training program along with a healthy diet can help offset these effects of aging.

Benefits of Personal Training Programs

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, changes that occur in the musculoskeletal system result more from disuse than from simple aging. Fewer than 10 percent of Americans participate in regular exercise and the most sedentary group is older than 50 years of age. Benefits of a personal training program include an increase in balance, coordination, strength and endurance. Other benefits of exercise include controlling weight, managing or reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving mood, promoting cognitive well-being and boosting energy.

Personal Training Program Features

While participating in a personal training program, you can expect to be involved in some form of aerobic activity such as walking, swimming, stationary bike or any other activity that can get your heart pumping. This is beneficial because it helps strengthen the hardest-working muscle in your body -- your heart -- improves your respiratory system and lowers your blood pressure. Muscle-strengthening activities will also be a component of a personal training program. These activities consist of some form of progressive weight-training program or weight-bearing calisthenics that involve the major muscle groups to help increase strength and bone density. Flexibility training will be part of the program to increase flexibility in the major muscle groups as well as improve joint motion. This will help improve coordination, decrease injury risk and improve blood supply to the tissues. The training regimen may also include balance exercises for those who have frequent falls or mobility problems.

How Often Should You Participate

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all adults -- including the elderly -- participate in aerobic activity three to five times a week for at least 30 minutes per day and up to 60 minutes for greater benefit. The ACSM recommends doing muscle-strengthening and flexibility activities at least two days per week, alternating between moderate and vigorous activity. As with any program, consult with your physician prior to starting a new exercise regimen to discuss any health concerns.

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