Personal trainers should always get new clients to fill in a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) to ensure you are aware of any medical conditions or injuries. This is a great opportunity for over 50’s clients to get to know what they have done in the past, what they enjoy and what they want to work on. If they have had an injury or medical condition then you can ask more about it and adjust any training accordingly.
Warm-ups become even more important for over 50’s to ensure their muscles and joints are ready and prepared for exercise. This can just be a low level aerobic activity such as a brisk walk on a treadmill or slow pedaling on an exercise bike.
The best cardio for over 50’s is that which does not impose excessive orthopedic stress such as walking. Other less weight-bearing activities include exercise done in water and cycling on a stationary bike. One of the biggest mistakes over 50’s make in the gym is exercising with shoulders hunched over. It is important that the personal trainer instructs them to keep proper posture and make sure their clients keep their shoulders back and down and their chin and chest forward.
A common misconception is that weight training is only for bodybuilders and those who want to develop big muscles. In reality weight training is important to strengthen bones and is proven to delay and even cure osteoporosis problems. In your mid to late 30’s muscle mass starts to decrease and we continue to lose 1-2% of muscle mass every year. The only way to stop this is to use resistance training or lift weights under the proper guidance of the personal trainer.
Especially for older inactive adults, stretching at the end of a session is imperative. Tight muscles will reduce the body’s ability to perform everyday tasks by affecting range of motion, balance and fluidity in the joints. Slow easy stretches are best and make sure you stretch all muscles that have been used during the session.
Solid nutritional principles are applicable at any age, but there are a few that every over-50 can use to ensure the middle-age spread is kept at bay. 80% full is the benchmark that’s going to keep you eating well while watching your waistline. Beyond that, it’s simply good nutrition: lots of protein, fewer white carbs and a tight noose around that alcohol habit. Happy training.
Often the biggest challenge with over 50’s is getting them motivated to do exercise. Therefore, the most important thing is to make it as fun and engaging as possible so that they keep on coming back time and time again and get fitter and healthier than when they started!