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For Mobility, Balance,
Research proves that people can stay strong as they grow older if they exercise. By now, everyone has gotten the message to exercise, but many people need help in learning how to do the right exercises and to do them safely and effectively. Exercise for people over age 50 is a combination that includes six components measured in our Free Fitness Assessment:
• Aerobic capacity
We do not want to train you twice a week for twenty years the way many personal trainers do, unless you are a multimillionaire, in which case we want to see you four times a week for forty years! Why not, if money is no object?
However, we prefer to show you a set of safe, simple, effective exercises that you can do in your own home, using equipment that costs about $50.00.
Our ideal individual client trains with us once or twice a week for several months and then contracts with us for quarterly check-ups for new assessments and exercises.
Our ideal group client takes weekly or bi-weekly classes consecutively for several months and then re-enrolls occasionally to make sure that technique, motivation, and results remain excellent.
We definitely want an ongoing relationship with you, but:
We don't want it to cost you
an arm and a leg. We want to help you keep your arms and legs as strong
as possible for as long as possible.
The remaining assessments help us discover your cardio-respiratory capacity, flexibility, gait and dynamic balance skills, and static balance skills. We use the results to design a program or conduct a class that will meet your need to improve or maintain your fitness level.
If you walk briskly or do another aerobic activity for three hours a week or more, then congratulations, but you still need strength training, according to Nicholas DiNubile, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and author of FrameWork (Rodale, 2005). In fact, he advocates strength training for "everyone with a body" (p. xv). See Making the Decision to Exercise for additional inspiration to start working out.
• First quartile (1Q). You are more fit than 75 % of the people in your age group. Keep on doing what you're doing to stay fit because it's working well for you. If you notice any decline in your fitness later on, we can help you get back on track.
• Second quartile (2Q). You are more fit than 50 % of the people in your age group. To stay in this above average group, you might consider taking one of our classes in strength training, balance and mobility, or gait enhancement or a few private sessions to learn the specific exercises that you can do at home to stay above average for the rest of your life.
• Third quartile (3Q). You are less fit than 50 % of the people in your age group. You need to begin a strength training program right away. Check with your doctor first to make sure there are no medical contraindications for exercise, and plan on taking classes or having private sessions until retesting shows that you have improved enough to score in the second quartile.
• Fourth quartile (4Q). You are less fit than 75 % of the people in your age group. If and only if your doctor clears you for exercise, and if and only if you truly want to make a change in lifestyle, you can move yourself out of this category by making an investment in your future. Improving your fitness level can take six to twelve months and can cost as little as $300.00 if you are highly motivated or over $3000.00 if you are not. In many cases, people decide that they can't afford not to start taking care of themselves.
• A folding chair or sturdy straight chair with the two back legs placed
snugly against a wall.
To test your lower body strength, sit in the chair and cross your hands over your chest with the right hand near the left shoulder and the left hand near the right shoulder. Take a couple of practice tries as you stand up all the way and then sit or touch back down.
For the test, count how many times you can stand up completely and touch your seat down on the chair, one right after the other, in 30 seconds. You don't have to sit down completely, but you do need to make contact between the seat of the chair and the seat of your pants.
Compare your score against the standard for lower body strength in selected age groups.Women
If your score is in the third or fourth quartile at or near your age group, you definitely need to work on your lower body strength. Even if your score is in the first or second quartile, you can consider strength training in order to keep what you have. Use it or lose it, they say.
Test your Upper Body Strength
To administer the test, sit in the folding chair and practice a few biceps curls with each arm. To practice a biceps curl with the right arm, do the following:
• Sit on the far right of the chair seat so that swinging your right arm up and down won't cause you to hit either the chair or your body.
• Hold the weight down by your side with your right arm straight. The weight should be below the level of your seat but not touching the floor.
• Start with your palm facing your body but be prepared to rotate the palm
• Raise the weight until your forearm is parallel to the floor and then rotate your palm up toward the ceiling as you continue raising the weight to the level of your chest or armpit. Make the lift one smooth motion as you raise the weight and turn the palm up. Don't bang the weight into your chest.
• Lower the weight in a controlled fashion, rotating your palm inward, until your arm is straight again and the weight is below the seat of your chair. Don't just relax the arm and let the weight plop down. Control the descent.
Now sit to the far left of the chair and take a few practice biceps curls with your left arm. After deciding which arm feels stronger, take the test using your stronger arm. Count the number of times you can raise the weight to your chest or armpit in 30 seconds.
Compare your score against
the standard for upper body strength in selected age groups.
Note: These and other tests as well as percentile rankings for ages 65-74 and 80-89 are in the Senior Fitness Test Manual by Roberta E. Rikli and C. Jessie Jones (Human Kinetics, 2001). If your age is in between those listed in the tables, you can estimate the standard scores for your age group to determine your approximate ranking.
If not soon, then when?
If not at all, then why?
If you don't know why, then find out.
If you feel you can't afford strength training, then ask yourself if you can afford not to give yourself or your loved one the gifts of greater independence, self-confidence, optimism, strength, balance, and mobility.
After all, one individual strength training session costs less than a fancy dinner for two in a nice restaurant. Which one will do you more good in the long run?
Also remember that the Strengthmobile does not require you to spend $500.00 or more for an annual gym membership. Once you perfect your technique with the exercises we teach, you don't even have to spend gas money to go to the gym.
For about $20.00, plus shipping, you can order a resistance band that we use for several exercises. For about $30.00, plus tax, you can purchase a set of dumbbells that we use for several more exercises. The only additional equipment you'll need is the same folding chair or straight chair that you used for the upper body and lower body assessment tests.
Strength training can save on healthcare costs because it tends to improve your health.
If you feel that you are too ill or frail to exercise, or perhaps your family members consider you too ill or frail, look upon strength training as the very best way to undo much of the damage that illness or frailty has caused to your body.
People in their upper nineties can and do exercise, and they aren't physically gifted supermen and superwomen. They have average bodies but an above average desire to stay strong enough to do the things they still want to do.
What do heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, osteoporosis, and anxiety and depression have in common? They are among the top causes of death, disability, or chronic illness in America, and doctors routinely recommend exercise for their patients who have these conditions.
As long as your doctor permits it, you're never too ill, frail, or old for exercise.
It's never too late to get stronger.
The Strengthmobile can help!