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Creating an Exercise Plan for Seniors – 6 Tips

Senior citizens may be getting old in years, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be active. They still need to move as much as they can to ensure that they remain physically strong and healthy. An exercise plan for seniors needs to take into account specific considerations.

Regular exercise improves balance and strength, fights off depression, and speeds up metabolism. To ensure they remain healthy and well, especially during their senile stage, have a professional monitor their medical condition regularly. Health insurance could make this easier. With Medicare coverage, a client will have access to a wide range of medical services.

Many factors may contribute to the type of exercise senior clients can do and its frequency. A walker or other aids may need to be incorporated into their routine to ensure that they are doing the exercises safely, especially when they are living on their own. Some clients will need more passive exercises, like stretching, due to their decreased mobility.

Whatever their fitness needs may be, you need to consider that they may not perform as younger clients would. Even if they were very active in their younger years, their body may not perform physically as well as before.

Here are some tips for creating the best exercise plan for seniors:

Factor in Senior Health Conditions

This should be your priority as many senior clients may have health concerns. Ensure they fill out a PARQ. Follow up with a conversation about their health status or if there are any special instructions from their doctor regarding exercise. If the client has any conditions, like heart problems, you will have to go easy on the cardio or heavy lifting activities. 

The best move would be for clients to consult with their doctor first before you create their exercise plan. You could also consult with a physiotherapist for extra guidance if needed.

Offer Healthy Meal Suggestions

Senior clients will need to follow a healthy eating plan alongside the exercise program.  Encouraging your client to make healthier choices when it comes to food should be part of your planning as well. If you do not have a nutrition certification, you can also advise them to consult with a nutritionist.

Some clients might have dietary restrictions or would need a special diet. This could leave them short of the necessary minerals and vitamins for building muscles and storing nutrients in the body. Exercise could cause the body to use more of the needed nutrients, so they need to be replenished by a healthy diet.

Check Their Level Of Mobility

Senior exercise plan

When preparing an exercise plan for a senior client, you would need to assess their level of mobility. Can they do the exercises you’re suggesting? If not, you should consider variations to the exercise, where possible, so your clients can complete them.

Propose Manageable Lengths Of Time

Don’t overburden a senior client’s system with lengthy workout sessions. They may need you to break down the sessions into smaller, more manageable chunks. Aim to increase the session time as they improve their endurance, but start with a shorter time. They may also feel overwhelmed with a long, complicated routine, so keep it simple at first.

Start Off Easy

Trying to complicate the exercises will only frustrate you and your clients. When they first start with you, use easy-to-do routines or exercises so they can get used to them. Some of your clients may not have done any exercises in a long time and would have to ease into the new routine.

Extend Passive Exercise Options

Some of your clients may have mobility issues or movement restrictions. This will mean that you might want to add more passive options to their plan so they can adjust well.

Passive exercises involve assisting the client in moving an arm or leg or turning their head. You can also assist them in stretching their muscles passively by bending and straightening their limbs, flexing and extending their hands or feet, or lifting up and lowering down their extremities.

Creating an exercise plan for seniors

Working It All Out

There are a few extras to factor in when creating an exercise plan for seniors, but keeping them active and healthy would be the best outcome for you both.

Consider all their health, dietary, or other special requirements, and start slow and steady. Listen to your client when they voice concerns about their abilities or stamina and don’t make them overwork themselves or push them beyond what they are capable of doing at their age.

Remember to heed the warnings of medical professionals and don’t hesitate to ask for their input or advice if you need to.

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