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geriatric fitness: its underlying essence and nature

senior man performing geriatric exercises.

For most of the mature, older adult population in our midst, the goals of physical exercise and fitness training are NO longer geared toward aesthetics, beauty or even outward appearances.

Instead, the focus has predominantly shifted to the use of exercise as a means to promote one's overall well-being, functional independence, and an enhanced quality of life.

As such, with the above goals in mind, a geriatric fitness program serves as a vital vehicle to attain the above objectives while addressing the various physical and functional needs of our older adults and seniors.

Incidentally, the nature and essence of geriatric fitness also ensures that while the focus is on improving the PHYSICAL health of our seniors - by taking into account the various challenges and changes that come with aging - the mental, emotional and social aspects of their overall health are also being addressed and improved upon at the same time.

Following are some key aspects and components of a geriatric fitness program:

A) Functional Independence

 

Helping the senior population enhance their functional capacities to carry-out day-to-day activities and to maintain a certain degree of independence in daily life are major goals of a geriatric fitness program. To this end, a Functional Training Approach - where exercises and movements mimicking daily activities - is usually incorporated into a senior-centric fitness plan to bring about the desired results.

B) Chronic Disease Management

Many older adults live with chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer. A geriatric fitness program can help to manage or even reverse many of these conditions and their accompanying symptoms through an Individualized Personal Training Plan or an Age-Specific Fitness Protocol where specifically-designed exercises and drills, as well as appropriate dietary recommendations and behaviour change modification strategies are integrated into the program.

C) Fall Prevention

As seniors and older adults are more susceptible to slips, falls and trips - which can be particularly detrimental and even life-threatening for them - exercises that enhance overall strength, balance and coordination have become increasingly essential in any geriatric fitness program. To prevent such accidents and injuries from occurring in daily life, exercise strategies and action plans that include Balance Training, coordination drills and Resistance Strength Training are also often included in geriatric fitness programs designed for older adults.

D) Movement And Mobility

For seniors to be able to perform daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs or beds, and to be able to lead independent and active lives, their movement efficiency and mobile proficiency often come into play. To develop these crucial qualities, a geriatric fitness program uses both Movement And Mobility Instruction, together with Flexibility Coaching (as a means to keep one's muscles and joints flexible, and to reduce any stiffness or pain), to help older adults and seniors move better and easier.

 

E) Bone Density And Joint Health

Weight-bearing exercises such as: brisk-walking, hiking, stair-climbing as well as other forms of predominantly Body-Weight Exercises are all excellent ways to help in the maintenance of bone density and joint health amongst our senior population. Combine that with elements of Resistance Training - which may include anything from Resistance Band Workouts to dumbbell/barbell exercises to even Kettlebell Training Drillsthis combination can go a long way in reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis among our elderly folks.

F) Muscle Strength And Endurance

Maintaining one's muscle strength and muscular endurance are crucial not only for performing daily activities, but also in preventing falls and mishaps among the elderly. In the context of geriatric fitness, much emphasis is thus placed on Strength Training, in conjunction with other vital fitness components of a senior/older adult fitness program to build greater strength, endurance and resilience in the body's muscles and its surrounding soft tissues. 

G) Cardiovascular Fitness

To promote heart health, lung function, and to improve overall blood circulation and cardiovascular conditioning. few play a more vital role than Aerobic Exercises in a geriatric fitness program. From brisk-walking to biking, from swimming to Stair-Climbing, from rope-jumping to Circuit-Training, countless cardio-type or aerobic-centric exercises can be programmed into a mature adult's geriatric exercise routine to boost his/her all-round cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness.

Conclusion

To sum up, Geriatric Fitness is about helping seniors and older adults maintain a high quality of life as they age, while at the same time, promoting independence, preventing health issues, and addressing the specific challenges that come with getting older.

 

It involves a Holistic Approach that considers not only the various elements and dimensions of fitness training, but also the mental, emotional and social well-being of our seniors, and recognizing that it is the very interconnectedness of these aspects that ultimately promote a healthy and fulfilling life for our older adults.

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