Exercise

Getting Started

Outlined in this program are several exercises which targets different parts of your body. These are divided into two main groups; resistance training and balance. As your level of mastery improves for each exercise, you’re able to increase the level of difficulty as described in the exercise modules.

Before you start however, there are several things to consider:

  • Remove obstacles in the room which may result in falls or injury.
  • Ensure that the exercise aids such as chair or table are secure.
  • For exercises which require you to sit, chairs should be steady with a firm flat seat and a solid back.
  • Consider your loved one’s ability to perform the movements of the exercise in good form.
  • Choose activities that both you and your loved one finds enjoyable.

It is essential to challenge your loved one with activities which are slightly beyond reach to stimulate improvements.

  • Best results are gained when the exercises are done in slow and deliberate movements.
  • Be aware of pain or reports of feeling unwell during the exercise.
  • Be aware of any new health events which should be recorded in Health and Safety.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EXERCISE

To begin your training, select a few exercises from the Balance Training and Strength Training modules. If you or your loved one have concerns with balance and stability, we recommend starting with the strength training first then progressively adding the balance exercises in another session.

If you have never done training before, we suggest starting with 1 or 2 exercises from the Strength Training module and 1 or 2 from the Balance Training module. We also suggest starting at the easiest level and following the directions for increasing intensity of each exercise as time goes on.

Once you’re familiar with materials selected, you may add more exercises until you have a fully complementary program. The goal is to perform 6 – 8 Strength Training exercises in addition to Balance Training in a session.

We suggest Strength Training be done 3 times a week, while Balance Training can be done every day, but at least 3 days per week. Generally it is best to start with the balance training, and finish with the strength training. Please review our materials on how to incorporate balance exercise into everyday life for suggestions and ideas.

Please attempt all our Strength Training and Balance Training materials as you are able to. Different balance exercises train different aspects of balance. Similarly, each Strength Training exercise aims to strengthen a different part of your body. You will achieve the best results by training multiple parts of your body (arms, legs, back) rather than focusing on just one.

The exercise program we have designed for you is a balanced, whole body program that includes all of the major muscle groups and types of balance you need in daily activities, and has been shown to improve mobility and balance, prevent falls, as well as improve cognition, mood and well-being. It is based on research studies for older adults carried out by Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh, MD, and others for more than 3 decades in Australia and internationally.

You can find some of the published research here.

Consideration

For safety purposes, training should be done under direct supervision. Mastering a movement or posture with the correct form is essential for all the exercises to minimize injury risks. Some exercises may need to be adapted or avoided if you have significant pain in the muscles trained. For most of these cases however once your strength improves, these exercises should be quite tolerable.

For balance training, the only real risk is a loss of balance which may result in a fall, injury, or increased fear of falling. This is largely avoidable as long as the principles of doing the exercise (e.g. progression, intensity, supervision) is followed.

For resistance training, you may experience soreness within 1-2 days after the exercise. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS are part of the muscle building process which leads to bigger, stronger muscles. It feels like a mild ache or tenderness of the muscles trained and should improve as you continue training.

If you feel a new, sharp pain during exercise, you should stop the activity and consult your health professional. Finally, it is also important to note any potential injuries in Health and Safety, and refer to your doctor for further investigation if required.