Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Older Adult EnhanceFitness Exercise Program (Research, Video 3:12)

Whenever I talk to older adults about exercising, I usually hear comments like these:

1)   I attend a weekly hustle class that energizes me.

2)   Twice a week, I walk in the mall where I feel safe.

3)   I keep busy babysitting my grandkids every day.

4)   Mostly, I keep active going places and doing things around the house like gardening.

It doesn’t take long to conclude that many older adults associate exercise mainly with simply moving around. Unless they participate in strength training and flexibility exercises in addition to aerobic conditioning, many who are able to perform all of these activities are not benefiting from a total fitness program. Sometimes I wonder what would happen to those who lack strength training if they fell and were stuck on the ground with a good heart rate, but little strength to get up.

I was especially pleased when I read this strength training research done by Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. The purpose was to determine the effects of 16 weeks of strength training on measures of functional ability in elderly who are functionally limited. Divided into an exercise and control group, the 87 participants (ages 65-93) were living independently, but with functional limitations. Three days a week over a 16-week period, exercising participants attended 13 different strength training exercises using Thera-Band resistive bands. They exercised in a group setting once a week and were given a home exercise book to follow for two additional sessions per week.
Results showed significant upper-body strength improvement for the exercisers’ strength as measured by bicep curls and lower-body strength as measured by chair sit-to-stand. The control group participants achieved minimal changes. Having good functional ability is inversely correlated with short-term morbidity and the need for assisted living in older adults. It’s important that this population becomes more educated and receives more opportunities for resistance training to maintain their independence.
EnhanceFitness is a well-rounded exercise program implemented nationally in many older adult communities. An award-wining program backed by over ten years of scientific research, EnhanceFitness participants work out three days a week with certified instructors. Funders of the program like the low costs, the sustainability, and especially the positive outcomes. 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

1 comment:

  1. Detroit older adults love Enhance Fitness classes! We want to help our life stories have happier endings!