Practical Fitness for Older Adults
The Best Personal Training for Seniors in Nashville, TN
Blogs, Articles, Case Studies
Charles Sprintz - Client, Friend, Mentor
Yesterday I had to say goodbye to an incredible friend and mentor. I have had the privilege of training Charles Sprintz, founder of Sprintz Furniture in Nashville, TN, since 2004. Charles worked hard in his business, loved his family tremendously and was a generous philanthropist for his community. Charles understood that being committed to his priorities meant prioritizing his health (with some nudging from his wonderful wife Alyse). Charles worked out with me 2-3 times a week, even after he endured strokes several years ago. His wife, Alyse, also a dear friend and client, tells me that my training kept him alive far longer than anyone could have hoped for. Working with Charles and many of my other clients for more than a decade has allowed me to get to know them, their families, and what matters the most to them. In return, I have been lucky to share what matters most to me. Charles has been there for me and my family - even signing the Ketubah (the marriage contract) at my wedding. For me, loyalty is a value I uphold and in my work as a trainer I strive to be there for and with my clients, keeping them strong physically and also mentally (and with humor) all the days of their lives. Charles - I will miss you - our banter, your smile, your wisdom, and your friendship. Your memory will always be a blessing.
Fighting Parkinson's Head On
Published in the March 2019 issue of
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement in the body; there is no cure for this disease. Currently, about one million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s Disease.
General symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include:
· Tremors or shaking, in a limb, often hands or fingers.
· Slowed movement making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. It may be difficult to get out of a chair and you may drag your feet as you try to walk.
· Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness which can be painful and limit your range of motion.
· Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems.
· Loss of automatic movements. You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
· Speech changes. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone.
Luckily, research suggests exercise helps slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease and in the last decade, it has been proven that boxing workouts have been found to be one of the most beneficial kinds of exercise to help combat this disease. Not only do these boxing workouts slow the process of the disease, but they actually help improve several areas affected by Parkinson’s.
Boxing workouts are not just beneficial but are also extremely fun. One of the greatest advantages is to the mind. Among those that engage in these boxing workouts, many say that they feel as though they get to let out anger and aggression often caused by the disease itself. Boxing workouts improve agility, balance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and power throughout the entire body. They also improve hand-eye coordination and cardiovascular fitness.
Boxing workouts improve agility, balance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and power
throughout the entire body. They also improve hand-eye coordination and cardiovascular fitness.
Footwork used in boxing has tremendous effects on balance and on one’s gait. It aids in walking and decreases the chance of falling while also improving performance of daily activities. Shadowboxing, by throwing punches in the air, whacking away at a heavybag or handpads and timing the speedbag are all amazing in how they assist in countering this Parkinson’s opponent. Amazingly, quite often when participants are punching, there are no tremors in the hands.
The Cleveland Clinic, the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research and others, have stated how intense exercise like boxing helps protect the brain and research has shown that after 12 weeks of intense boxing, people with Parkinson’s improve their gait, balance, and quality of life.
If you’re suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, it might be time to put on the gloves and show this disease who the real champ is.
It's Never Too Late to Improve Your Health and Fitness Levels
Published in the January 2019 issue of
If you're in the gym and you see a swarm of older adults strutting down the hallway to the fitness center wearing their sweats, headbands and iPods to partake in physical exercise, you do not need to do a double-take. That's right, you saw correctly.
More and more older adults have realized that exercising is not just for athletes and younger people anymore.
Over the years, the GI Joe and Baby Boomer generations have realized that there are great benefits for themselves by continuing to exercise. It is no longer a workout in order to look good on the beach or improve their athletic prowess. It is now a workout to improve their mobility, stability, strength, coordination, slow the aging process and possibly even diseases and improve their Independence.
Basically they are trying to move better, feel better and enjoy life more.
There are several Senior Group classes using chairs, water aerobics, and balance classes such as Tai Chi, but there has also been a major increase in the number of older adults doing individual workouts, lifting weights and performing endurance exercises.
It's no surprise that aging causes loss of muscle mass and strength as well as the loss of flexibility and mobility. Unfortunately balance and stability may also decrease. Aging without exercise leads to a lessening of aerobic capacity, thinning bones, and susceptibility of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, neuromuscular diseases and the many other diseases associated with the aging process.
With new information emerging from research everyday, there is compelling evidence that shows exercise is beneficial for all age groups.
There have been many reports of how becoming or remaining physically active can help prevent, delay or slow several diseases. Growing older no longer means that you have to lose your ability to do everyday tasks. Unfortunately, seniors are more likely to have aches pains and illnesses. However, exercise has been proven to help improve all of the aforementioned.
The government guidelines for those over 65 are two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week along with strength training twice a week. Strength training should work all the major muscle groups, aiming to get 8 to 12 repetitions and three sets per exercise. In addition, endurance work, like swimming, walking, biking, or dance should be performed 5 times a week for 30 minutes. Those that are physically able can do one session of 30 minutes and those that are unable to attain that could do 15 minutes twice a day or even 10 minutes 3 times a day.
Strength training will aid in stability and balance, strength, bone health and general quality of life. Endurance work will aid with increased energy while performing daily activities.
Working with a fitness trainer to see what workouts would be most beneficial before beginning a workout routine and also to learn how to do the exercises correctly is highly recommended to avoid injuries.
When seeking a trainer, find someone who specializes in working with older adults and with any specific issues that you are dealing with. For example, if you have had surgeries, chronic pain, or a musculoskeletal or neurological disease, make sure your trainer is familiar with your conditions. A thorough fitness assessment needs to include checking your balance while sitting or standing, and your walking or gait balance. A qualified trainer will also assess your mobility, stability, strength and endurance before designing any workouts for you. Assessments are instrumental in being able to tailor a workout for each individual. Working out without an assessment at any age is like going on a road trip with no directions.
Once the assessments are performed and the programs are designed then the sky's the limit. Workouts for seniors, just like workouts for young adults, can use a variety of tools, to keep the process fun for the mind and the body. Free weights, tubes, bands, medicine balls, kettlebells, battle ropes and many other pieces of equipment can be used to implement the workouts. Workouts must be as functional and as enjoyable as possible.
Older adults that work with trainers and develop a regular exercise habit, comment on how happy they are to remain more independent. The importance of being able to carry groceries, do their own laundry, compete in golf games or tennis matches, work beyond retirement age, and play with their grandkids or dogs, cannot be underestimated.
Let today be the day when you begin to move better, feel better, and enjoy life to the fullest.
Trade In Your Old Baggage For Something New
If you are walking around with that same recording in your head repeatedly telling you those same old excuses for why you don't need to exercise, it is time to change the record. Does that noise sound something like "I am too old to start exercising", "I don't know where to begin", "What's the point", "Who do I need to look good for anyway"? Your recording may sound a bit different than this but I am here to tell you that together we can change that worn out tape. Move Better, Feel Better, Live Better is the promise of Practical Fitness. Bag included :)