Essay: Senior Fitness

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Senior Fitness

Currently Violet seems to be in relatively good shape and should be able to initiate a fitness program that will not only allow her to improve her fitness level, but it will also allow her to approach life with a positive outlook while remaining a strong, independent individual. One recent study determined that the key to healthy aging is to maintain a regular exercise regimen. The study concluded that "many seniors feel discouraged by fitness barriers, such as chronic health conditions or concerns about injuries or falls" (Senior Exercise, 2011).

Additionally, the study determined that "exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older" (2011). The study also found that exercise helps in managing the symptoms of illness and pain, helps in maintaining independence and even reverses some of the symptoms of aging. Last, but certainly not least, the study also provided evidence of the benefits of exercise including that it's 'good for your mind, mood and memory' (Senior, 2011).

Therefore, Violet's plan will definitely include a significant exercise component.

Violet's plan will necessarily focus on keeping her body healthy, but coupled with the exercise will also be a component of diet that will help her in lowering her body weight by approximately 5-7%. With a lowered body weight, and a six-day a week exercise regime, her body will quickly become trimmed, her mind will develop improved acuity and sharpness, and her overall sense of well-being will be enhanced. With mind, spirit and body in accord, Violet will live a longer and fuller life.

My fitness plan for Violet will be broken down into four different categories. The first category will focus on cardio fitness (chart a). In order to improve Violet's endurance, lessen any fatigue that she may be feeling, and to ensure that Violet does not become short of breath when taking on any daily activities a cardiovascular workout three times a week would work well. She can do this by getting a membership at a local gym or by taking on exercises around the neighborhood. Cardio activities include jogging or walking, riding a bicycle, climbing stairs and hiking. Other excellent cardio workouts that Violet can undertake (if interested) is tennis, hand ball, or racquetball. These workouts require a partner, which is also a good method of ensuring that Violet's friend(s) or spouse can also benefit. Having a partner also provides Violet with more of an incentive to be consistent in her program.

One thing that the exercise program will emphasize is the walking aspect of a good cardio program. A recent article reports that "studies have shown that regular walking can help

significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and even some cancers" (Clark, 2007, p. 57). The article also espoused the fact that walking programs are effective at reducing costs of insurance, increasing employee productivity, and promoting mental well-being.

At the same time, walking is a simple exercise that does not take expensive equipment, and can be accomplished almost anywhere. If Violet does not feel like purchasing a club membership, she can always concentrate her cardio workouts on walking.

The second category for Violet's exercise program will focus on building her muscles, especially the upper body muscles. This part of Violet's program will focus on using weights with repetitive motion. This can be accomplished by using weight machines, elastic bands, or her own body. This part of her program will take place on an every other day basis; using different weight she'll begin with reps and numbers based on how many she can handle, and then add to those as she gains strength. Strength exercises are excellent exercises for improving balance and building muscle mass, both important factors for the older individual.

The third category will take on a flexibility focus. A focus on flexibility will help Violet keep her muscles and joints limber which lessens the possibility of an injury. The focus will also help increase Violet's range of motion. The method for older individuals to achieve increased flexibility is to use static stretches and do stretches with an aid; a balancing ball is a good tool to use here. These stretches can be done on a 5/6 day-a-week basis as part of Violet's other exercises. For instance she can use these stretches both before (as a warm-up) her sessions

(both cardio and weight) and after her sessions as a cool-down.

Finally, the fourth focus for Violet will pertain to balance. Again these exercises and stretches can be accomplished as part of Violet's cardio and weight training programs. These exercises will assist Violet in her posture, capability to walk, and will lessen the incidences of falling. The exercises will also increase Violet's confidence.

The entire program will take place over a 12-week time frame. Weeks one through three will introduce Violet to the regime, weeks four through nine will be the aggressive period when

Violet works at losing weight, building muscle and improving her flexibility and balance, weeks ten through twelve will be the maintenance period. After the initial twelve weeks an evaluation

will be conducted on Violet and a new program will be developed for her at that time.

Putting Violet on a calorie counting diet will help her in losing, then maintaining her weight.

She is not totally overweight, and is definitely not obese, however she could stand to trim a few pounds and tighten her muscles and joints. Placing a restriction on the amount of calories she intakes each day will teach her discipline and will affect her confidence in a positive manner. An individual of Violet's age and lifestyle should consume between 1500

2000 calories per day and should concentrate on healthier eating as well. One recent study followed a senior citizen as she entered into a low-calorie diet.

She stated during the study that "I stopped eating candy when I realized it was just full of empty calories" (a balancing act, 2005, p. 172), instead she ate fruit. Following her diet resulted in a loss of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. Once Violet lowers her weight by 5

7 pounds, a low-calorie diet such as the one recommended herein will help her maintain that weight with little difficulty.

References

A balancing act; (2005) Shape, Vol. 24, Issue 10, p. 172

Clark, J. (2007) Ramping up senior fitness, Parks and Recreation, Vol. 42, Issue 10, pp. 56-59

Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips (2011) Exercise is the key to healthy aging, accessed at website: http://www.helpguide.org/life/senior_fitness_sports.htm, on March 19, 2011

Chart a

Weeks 1 -- 3

Cardiovascular

Monday and Friday Stretches - Warm up

Briskly walk/jog for 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes

Stair Climbers for 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes

Jog/Sprint 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes

Stretches -- Cool down

Wednesday Stretches -- Warm up

Swim (freestyle) for 5 minutes -- rest for three minutes

Swim (breast stroke) for 5 minutes -- rest for three minutes

Swim (back stroke) for 5 minutes -- rest for three minutes

Swim (butterfly) for 5 minutes -- rest for three minutes

Stretches -- Cool down

Muscle Building

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday - Stretches -- Warm up

Squats - 1-2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

DB Curls -- 1-2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Lateral Presses -- 1-2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Crunches -- 2 -- 3 sets, 20 reps

DB Shoulder Presses -- 1 -2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Bench Press -- Incline -- 1- 2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Barbell curls -- 1-2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Bent Knee Situps -- 2-3 sets, 20 reps

Barbell Row -- 1-2 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Stretches -- Cool Down

Flexibility & Balance

Every day except Sunday - Stretches to include: toe touches, helicopters, arm circles, torso twists, jumping jacks,-foot to hand leg stretches, toe lifts, standing one footers, arm behind head pulls

Each stretch should be done slowly and to full reach -- Warm Ups should include all stretches

Cool Downs should include all stretches except:

Jumping jacks

Chart B

Weeks 4-9

Cardiovascular

Monday and Friday Stretches - Warm up

Briskly walk/jog for 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes, 2 -3 sets

Stair Climbers for 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes, 2 -3 sets

Jog/Sprint 5 minutes -- rest for 5 minutes, 2 -- 3 sets

Stretches -- Cool down

Wednesdays Stretches -- Warm up

Swim (freestyle) 5 minutes -- rest for 3 minutes, 2-3 sets

Swim (breaststroke) 5 minutes -- rest for 3 minutes, 2-3 sets

Swim (backstroke) 5 minutes -- rest for 3 minutes, 2-3 sets

Swim (butterfly) 5 minutes -- rest for 3 minutes, 2-3 sets

Muscle Building

Tuesday -- Biceps and Chest Stretches -- Warm up

Cable Crossovers -- 2-3 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Cable Curls -- 2-3 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Bench Press -- 2-3 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Barbell Curls -- 2-3 sets, 20 reps

DB Shoulder Presses -- 2-3 sets, 10 -- 15 reps

Ground… [END OF PREVIEW]

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