Howard Magazine - Page 44 - Fitness For The Ages (2)

Howard Magazine
- Page 44
Fitness For The Ages (2)

training” where movement patterns of the exercise mimic everyday life. “That can affect their day-to-day activities.”


Many of Harris’ mobility workouts include exercises that target the shoulders, hips and knees, which are typical problem areas for seniors. Clients generally start sessions with a warm-up on the treadmill and move on to exercises with equipment that ranges from free weights to workout balls.


“I like to challenge them with the weights. They are usually stronger than they think they are,” Harris says. “That helps them feel stronger. And they’ll feel less frail — not scared to open that jar.”


For Jenkins, addressing pre-existing injuries is paramount.


“At 50 or 60 everyone has an injury,” she explains. “I work around that. I see how much weight bearing they can do. If we can strengthen those areas that need repair, that will help them with mobility. When we start moving and the pain goes away they are surprised.”


Balance work is also important for the older population, according to experts.


“There have been a number of big studies that if you don’t incorporate balance training, you do not get a significant benefit to decrease falls,” Beamer says. “Many, many people who are working with older adults, the increased recognition has been that we need to specifically address balance.”


But often, the greatest challenge lies in making seniors feel comfortable in a gym setting. Some have never gone to an organized gym in their lives, according to the trainers.


“We can go to areas that are just a women’s gym. I can work one-on-one with them,” Harris says. “They feel more secure. They’re not around all that banging [of weights].”


The relationship between the trainer and the client can help, too.


Robert Siskind, 70, suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder, and recently battled pancreatic cancer. He says his trainer, Deanna Nosel, has tailored his training to his ability level.


“She’s very sensitive about what I can and cannot do,” he says. “It’s been very helpful for Parkinson’s. Being physically active, you can push it [the progression of the disease] back.”


Siskind’s wife, Barbara, has also seen the difference that working with the right trainer has had on her husband.


“She makes you think you can do it,” says Barbara Siskind, who also works with Nosel. “She pushes you each time.” She says the support has made it easier to make the gym a habit.


“When I first went to the gym, I would do the same thing every time. Moving into some of the ‘big boy’ machines was a challenge. I felt a little apprehensive. But she got me through that section,” she says. “The going is a challenge. You’d rather have that second cup of coffee or read the newspaper. With her, I don’t feel so lazy. When you have an appointment with someone, you go. You can’t back out.”


Jenkins welcomes the growing number of seniors getting physically fit. “I want to be that trainer that will help them get to that level they want: drop the weight and getting stronger,” she says.


She always wants her clients — like Thomas — to enjoy life.


“When they tell me they are going to Europe, I want to focus on the stability of their ankles,” Jenkins explains. “They have cobblestones [in Europe]. I want their body to be able to react to the changes in the terrain.


“But my main priority is to help people enjoy things in life.”