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Working with older clients

Most of the clients I work with are over 65. The needs of an older adult are certainly different than those in their twenties and thirties. The goal of working with older clients is to assess their specific needs and work to improve that.

In my experience, age doesn’t necessarily dictate someone’s strength and ability. It all comes down to how active that individual has been. The first thing I need to do is assess their cardiovascular ability. I’ve worked with some clients who cannot manage 5 minutes on the treadmill.

“Cardiovascular” refers to the efficiency of getting blood to the heart. A lack of efficiency is either caused by inactivity or a number of diseases which affect the heart. In either case, the proper exercise prescription has worked to improve these individuals.

The next step is to assess their functional strength. Are they able to get up and down? For example, a big issue is, the ability to bend down and pick something up. Many people who avoid this activity are afraid of falling, due to a previous injury. I assess their ability to squat down and get up. Keep in mind, this is usually done from chair height. With repetition and consistency, my clients develop self-confidence and strength. Due to this improved strength and self-confidence, they can become more functional in their daily lives.

In my previous article, I cited an exercise program which should be changed every 12 weeks. This helps stimulate muscle development and also helps keep my clients interested in exercise. I’ve never seen exercise make somebody worse.

It is important to speak with your doctor about it, especially if you have a medical concern. The key is finding the right exercise prescription for your individual needs.

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