Senior Programming Considerations
One important aspect of teaching any senior fitness program is understanding the aging process and how it may affect your choice of movement.
As we age, physical changes occur slowly. Changes to the outward appearance are readily noticed in the mirror. The face gathers a few wrinkles and there is a gradual change in hair color. The body begins to shrink imperceptibly. Clothing size often changes. There is a loss in height and, often, a rounding in the shoulder area. Shoe size often increases due to fallen arches and flatter feet.
The average person loses muscle mass and gains more fat which is often visible below the skin surface. Because of the loss of lean muscle mass, the limbs can become thinner while the trunk area becomes fatter. The affected areas often include the hips, stomach, back of the arms and derriere. In addition, illness and disease can play a decisive role in overall physical changes.
Some people have a physical appearance that makes them look older than others in their same age group. Factors that can contribute to this include:
- differing lifestyles (such as work-related differences)
- habits (such as smoking or drinking)
- factors over which there is no control (such as genes)
Please note that this is an enormous age range to be placed together in one group – almost two generations (typically 50-90 year olds).
What may be interesting is that some classes where the parent and offspring are in the same “senior” land or water fitness program and the same fitness regimen or exercise may not be suitable for both parties. Be aware of what level of fitness activity each individual may perform and assume that there is no one size fits all. Always keep in mind that there are always exceptions to every rule. There may be cases where the parent is in better physical shape than the “child”. Realize that there are a lot of variables and that physiological age is not chronological age.
Janet Rollero has been a Master Trainer for WaterART Fitness for 20 years. She holds an ACE Personal Trainer Certification, AEA Certified and the owner of Fitness for U and Certified Fitness for Special Needs, Inc. With twenty plus years of professional experience behind her, Fitness for U Studio owner and personal trainer Janet Rollero is committed to helping her clientele achieve and sustain optimal health. “I am a personal trainer because I love teaching people the positive effects of exercise,” says Janet. Janet’s positive energy is contagious as she moves and trains clients and instructors both on land and in the water.