SUN CITY – Dick Fortier says a lot of older people have a “habitual” way of describing their exercise routine.

“I hear a lot of ‘I used to do this’ and ‘I used to do that,'” Fortier said. “But they often describe workouts from when their bodies were much younger, or even five years ago.”

Fortier and his wife, Jane, are Get Fit for Life – personal trainers who work directly with clients at Sun City Recreation Centers. Since they are seniors themselves, they know all the bad habits people get into while exercising and how to replace those that don’t have positive routines.

Jane Fortier says everyone’s body changes, whether it’s those who run their whole lives or those who rarely exercised as adults.

“These changes occur in an individual regardless of fitness level,” she said.

Rehabilitate an injury

Rehabilitation after surgery or injury and exercise are mutually exclusive, says Jane Fortier.

She said many personal trainers probably wouldn’t take on a client until all physical injuries were “brought back to integrity.” Rehab assignments must be completed before an exercise program can begin, she said.

“We don’t really interact with many massage therapists about particular clients, but we talk to many physical therapists,” she said. “If someone has had a joint replaced, it will involve a thorough consultation. We want to help, not harm. This person may not be supposed to do this exercise.

Dick Fortier points out that most modern weight machines can be adjusted based on a person’s size, strength, and range of motion.

“After an injury or major surgery, you are not the same person anymore,” he said. “You often have to retrain muscle groups, body movements, even how your lungs get enough oxygen for your blood flow.”

He said it’s important to follow all rehab or physiotherapy instructions closely.

“Sometimes we come across people who tell us that their injury recovery isn’t where they want it to be,” said Dick Fortier. “And we ask them, ‘Are you following all of your rehab guidelines?’ And the answer is no.”

What to look for

There are many good practices for seniors to learn and bad habits for seniors to avoid in an exercise routine, including what it means to build muscle.
Jane Fortier’s definition of a “good burn” is the kind of primarily muscular discomfort or soreness that sets in at the end of a workout and perhaps the hours and days that follow. .

“If you feel a sharp pain in the middle of an exercise, you should stop because you’ve probably hurt something,” she said. “If a problem arises, respect the problem.”

“The old idea of ​​’no pain, no gain’? It’s out the window,” said Dick Fortier. Jane Fortier also recommends listening to your body during a workout, not focusing on other things.

“When exercising, it’s easy to slip into a mental to-do list, or listen to music, books or a podcast to forget about the physical demands you’re placing on your body,” says Jane Fortier. “This approach can be destructive if used regularly. If you’re not getting the results you want from your workout or seem to be in a monotonous whirlwind, it’s probably because you need to take a “more mindful approach” to exercising.

She said mindful exercise involves focusing on each individual movement during training. These moves help you achieve small goals, and the reminder of small goals while exercising is motivation to achieve bigger ones.

“Studies show increased muscle activity when you intensely focus on the muscle being worked in a particular exercise,” she said.

Where to start

Jane Fortier said there are no “wrong” forms of exercise, although no exercise is safe and effective for every person.

“The good thing about people who haven’t even been in a gym is that they’re often an open roster, willing to try a lot of things,” she said. “But they could almost be a bit shy. Those who have had a workout routine in the past may have developed bad habits. There are also a few know-it-alls, but these people don’t usually seek the help of personal trainers.

Many people struggle to find the answer to one question: should they focus on aerobic exercise or strength training.

“The answer to this question is simple,” said Jane Fortier. “Aerobic exercise and strength training are just as important. Due to the physiological changes of each aging body, aerobic exercise and strength exercise become a necessity. They serve different purposes, each having an impact on how we feel and how we function. A smart workout routine, for anyone over 50, would include both aerobic and strength exercises.

Dispelling Myths

In a statement sent to the Daily Independent, Mesa-based Spark Performance & Physiotherapy said just because life is easier for older people in 2022 than it would have been in decades. earlier that health and fitness is no longer hard work.

“It still seems like the older generation has a stigma against exercise,” the company said in an email. “This stigma has been imposed on them for years, but times are changing. We now know how much being active can really impact your health. We try to dispel some of the excuses for the older population not to exercise, so that they can stay and enjoy their lives longer.

Lorrie Karn, Benevilla’s Benefitness Program Director, is a wellness expert and has been teaching group fitness for over a decade.

She agreed that the “no pain, no gain” method is harmful, as is obsessing over weight loss or any other one-size-fits-all measure, not listening to the body and thinking there is a magic cure that creates health and fitness.

“Fitness and health are individual,” Karn said. “There are a lot of parts and it takes self-discipline and putting your body first. Nutrition and hydration play a huge role, as does making time to exercise and lending pay attention to both your mood and how you feel in your clothes.

Karn said one of Benefitness’ most popular programs is called Rock Steady Boxing. Designed by an Indiana nonprofit, it uses non-contact boxing training to minimize symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, showing Karn and others that physical and mental exercise should be tailored to every elderly person.

“We should all focus on our baselines and shouldn’t try to track more than three or four data points,” she said.

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