Why do aging adults end up in assisted living? It’s right there in the title. It comes down to not being able to stand up after sitting on the toilet (a simple air squat.) Something that seems taboo and crass to talk about, but a very real thing.
More broadly the reason aging adults go to assisted living situations is loss of independence. As adults age, basic movement becomes much more difficult. People retire, they are less active, they have less errands to run everyday, they have less reasons to get up and out of the house. So they sit all day, and muscles begin to atrophy.
As we age, we need to keep active. We need to find or stick to an exercise routine. We need to make sure we can be independent as long as possible – not just for our own sake, but to release the burden from our children so they don’t have to take care of us (or pay someone else to take care of us.)
The exercise needs of the aging population vary by degree, not kind. What is standing up from the toilet – an air squat. What happens if someone falls and they need to get up – a burpee. How do groceries get unloaded from the car – a farmer’s carry.
Aging adult athletes may not be breaking gym records, but they can certainly do modified and scaled movements of EVERYTHING the rest of the class is doing. And a good coach and gym will know just how to do that. Intensity is relative for every athlete in a gym. Range of motion and movement goals stay the same.
Another great benefit of an exercise program is that it should incorporate strength training. And strength training is going to help fight off osteoporosis (brittle bones), which is something both men and women need to think about. When aging adults fall they often break something – because their bone density is weak. When lifting heavy objects (heavy being relative to where you are at), your bone density will increase – something we all need!
Group classes may or may not be appropriate for everyone, we have several “Masters” athletes at the gym (50+) and they do great in classes. Some people choose to start with private sessions. Whatever works best to get people active again (or for the very first time.)
I am not an elite athlete. I am not going to win any competitions. I am not going to break any records. I joke about it all the time, but the honest truth as to why I workout every day is so that I can stay out of a nursing home.