As we all know, we are facing an ageing population. As we get older, all we want is to be fit and healthy. Leading a high quality of life is important. Strength and resistance training is vital for individuals of all ages, and the elderly population is no exception due to the occurrence of sarcopenia. This refers to a gradual loss of muscle mass and muscle strength. As our bodies go through this involuntary process, strength becomes especially important for the elderly. This could result in them having difficulty performing activities of daily living such as walking, bending down to reach for an item, or even standing up from the floor. Resistance training has proven to help build lean muscles, improve physical performance, strengthen stabilizing muscles and most definitely improve motor skills and self esteem.
According to Dr Kua, a Consultant from Tan Tock Seng Hospital Falls and Balance Clinic and Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing, “Exercise won’t just bring the gift of longer life, it can also enhance cognitive health and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.” All in all, it conditions our body to feel young again! It is important to ensure a level of consistency so that our muscles will have sufficient stimulation and rest as well.
However, when it comes to personal training for the elderly, a different approach has to be taken into consideration. Personal trainers not only have to be more cautious but also pay special care and attention when planning a workout for an elderly individual. A variety of factors have to be carefully considered such as:
1. Pre-existing or past medical condition/injuries
2. Current fitness level
3. Limb flexibility
4. Limb mobility
What may be considered as a light intensity exercise for a young or middle aged client might be of a different intensity for the elderly. In addition, elderly clients have more brittle bones, weaker muscles and joints, Therefore, this makes them more prone to suffering from injuries when exercising, so extra care and attention has to be provided by personal trainers. Nevertheless, with the right care and guidance by the right personal trainers, the benefits that the elderly will receive severely outweighs the potential risks and dangers.
80 years old and going strong, Dr Anamah is the epitome of resilience and endurance. As one of our eldest clients, she does not feel intimidated to go to the gym. Instead she is always looking forward to her training sessions with her trainer, Lucas Lim. Her unwavering commitment has inspired everyone around her as a role model of active aging.
Here’s a little insight into Dr Anamah’s fitness journey thus far with Lucas and our FITLUC team!
1. How has personal training helped Dr Anamah, and how has it benefited her health and wellness?
Lucas, Dr Anamah's Personal Trainer, Founder of FITLUC: Dr Anamah started on a walking stick. When she came in, she had no expectations. After digging deep, it was basically to be healthier. The first step was to inspire her mentally. Show her the possibilities of her capabilities. I told her that let's work together to be less reliant on the walking stick, now she can do jumping jacks!
We incorporated functional training. With the range of motion she has, we gradually improve it through stretching. Establishing basic strength is key. I stressed the importance of mastering tension and foundation to her. The objective was to be clear and aware of which muscle group is activated during each exercise. Light weights and bodyweight variations were used to spice things up
Over the weeks, her confidence and strength grew and we moved on to heavier weights. I incorporated motor skill drills and ensured she has the confidence to move 4 directions. The key was to teach her movements and basic reactions to situations. Objective was to keep her safe.
Today, she is lifting heavier and training very well. We hit movements such as deadlifts, goblet squats, push ups, jumping jacks etc. She has gained the respect of many young and old. Mainly for her strong resolve and determination. She is training twice a week and is a real example of age is just a number. Many people have joined FITLUC for PT as they are inspired by her. I am super proud of her.
2. How has personal training helped Margaret (84 years old), and how it has improved her daily functions as well as health and wellness ?
Eun Sang, Margaret's Personal Trainer: When I met Margaret for the very first time, she was walking with the help of a walking stick and did not seem confident with her body. Margaret has done hip joint and femur bone replacement surgery which made her lose trust in her own self.
The first step was to build her confidence such that she can start believing in herself again. In order to show her the possibilities of her capabilities, I started on core workouts while seated. We also incorporated some light resistance bands and a pair of 1 or 2 kg dumbbells to fire up her upper body. Just as praises make whales dance too, I acknowledged her efforts and encouraged her to trust her body, while sharing with her how she actually managed to complete the workouts.
The moment she let go of my hands to walk by herself, it was amazing ! It was a sign that she started to regain some confidence in her own body.
Due to her special hip condition, keeping eyes on her at all times whether she is working out or not is extremely crucial although she is improving her strength. I wanted to give her assurance that she is safe.
On top of strength training which we eventually progressed to using 3 kg dumbbells, we also started working on her hip and thoracic spinal mobility to improve her movement and blood circulation. Currently we are working on step-ups which requires a lot more legs and core strength. However, with the confidence that we have built over the weeks of training, she is gradually becoming more independent and has been training on her own as well.
She is such an inspiration that makes others aware of how important it is to take care of themselves no matter what age they are and not give up on themselves. I am very proud of her.
It is never too late to make exercise an unbreakable habit. Drop us a WhatsApp message at +65 8812 0110 or book a personal training trial with one of our highly qualified trainers. Age is just a number, so don’t let it be a restriction!
Looking for a Personal Trainer in Singapore? Look no further! At FITLUC, we specialise in In-Person and Online Personal Training, and we also offer house-call PT with a small additional fee. We currently base our Personal Training clients at a well-equipped gym just a stone's throw away from Outram Park MRT.
We are recognized as one of the Top 12 Best PT in Singapore and were featured on Mothership, The Straits Times, YES 93.3FM, Yahoo News, etc. Our Personal Trainers have worked with clients aged 13 – 84, from Celebrities to CEOs, working professionals and homemakers, with goals ranging from fat loss, weight loss, muscle gain to athletic performance and elderly training. Our celebrity clientele includes Maxi Lim, Hazelle Teo, Tayying, Lee Teng, Ze Tong, Benjamin Tan, Royce Lee and more.
Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on our client stories and for more fitness tips from our Personal Trainers!