My special population was the elderly. I observed them at Golds Gym in Hamilton Mill, Georgia. Golds gym has a specific class designated for the elderly called “Silver Sneakers”. In this class, senior citizens come together and workout for an hour-long class as they condition their bodies at a healthy pace for their health and wellness.
Elderly citizens condition compromises their health in many ways. As the body ages, it stops producing as many cells to restore and replace the cells that make up our body. This means that as these cells stop regenerating, the organs begin to work slower and not function as well as they should, for example the heart stops supplying oxygen rich blood as well as it used to, the muscles in the body are not as strong and lively as they once were, etc. making it harder for the elderly to exercise and participate in physical activity than when they were younger. For younger individuals however, it is a much different story. The body is still generating cells rapidly allowing for cell generation to take place more frequently. Fortunately, for both the elderly and the younger population, exercise is great for both and can help promote health and wellness. Authors Williams & Wilkins discuss this and state, “Exercise is not only for the young. People of all ages can benefit from it. Among the benefits of exercise for the elderly is the slowing of declines in aerobic capacity, in cardiovascular fitness, in flexibility, and in muscle mass that inevitably occur with aging.” (Medicine, 2014).
The physiological and psychological benefits of exercise for the elderly are many. Exercise is extremely beneficial to the physiological and psychological health. When participating in exercise the cardiovascular system, repertory system, musculoskeletal system, etc. are all improving in their abilities to preform daily tasks, which is extremely beneficial for the elder population. Another improvement exercise can bring is the psychological improvement we obtain through frequent exercise. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins that trigger positive feelings in the body that can improve mood and mindset. The frequent release of these endorphins can help with depression, anxiety ADHD and more which is common in the elderly population.
I enjoyed observing this population as they participated in their class. It was uplifting seeing them get excited and have fun working out. I currently am working with this population with numerous clients. I personal train many elderly individuals and they each come with their own limitations and obstacles that I truly enjoy healing them overcome. It is so rewarding helping them achieve their goals and find strength they thought they had forever lost! I would love to continue working with this population!
American College of Sports Medicine. (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (9th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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