Health Club Exercise Safety Tips for Seniors

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Health Club Exercise Safety Tips for Seniors

by SarahD on June 17, 2011

Elderly Exercise

Workout Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

People of all ages can benefit from joining a health club and working to improve their state of fitness, but some people will face additional challenges when it comes to safety.  In particular, the elderly may have to contend with bone loss, muscle weakness, joint stiffness and swelling, and a general deterioration of coordination (not to mention illness, injury, and poor overall health).  In short, special considerations will need to be made by any gym facilities to accommodate members over the age of retirement (although those who have been exercising their whole life may be remarkably fit well beyond the age of 65).  Here are just a few ways in which health clubs can cater to a crowd that is looking to improve their quality of life during their golden years.

1.  Non-slip flooring.  Many gyms nowadays have carpeting or rubbery mats in areas that house machinery and other workout equipment.  However, they may not provide this type of flooring in the lobby and locker rooms or on the stairs (if they have more than one floor).  Of course, it’s rather impractical to put carpeting in the locker room, but heavy duty rubber mats that are made for showers (interlocking tiles) can be placed throughout restrooms for increased safety, especially since ceramic tile flooring becomes extremely slippery when wet.  And for stairs and other hard surfaces, carpeting or rubber surfacing can be applied.

2.  Low-impact machinery.  Many seniors suffer from joint pain due to worn cartilage.  This means that high-impact machinery (like a treadmill, for example) is not well suited to this age group, and even equipment that requires a wide range of motion may prove difficult to use.  Installing plenty of elliptical machines and stationary bikes will ensure that seniors members have safe options when they come to work out.

3.  Life guard.  Some health clubs have a pool for laps, water aerobics, and other forms of aquatic exercise.  This is usually a great option for seniors since it provides them with some amount of muscle-building resistance without the strain of weights or gravity to add painful pressure to bones and joints.  However, elderly members may become easily fatigued and get into trouble while in the water.  For this reason, it might not be a bad idea to have someone on hand that has water rescue skills (and current certification in CPR).

4. Braille.  As most people age, their eyesight begins to go.  Since it is extremely important that gym members be aware of proper usage of equipment, you might want to include instructional stickers that have braille as well as printed text.

5. Personal trainers.  You might think that seniors wouldn’t require personal trainers when they exercise, but they probably need more help than the average gym-goer.  They have a host of special needs to take into consideration and so they require trainers that are aware of their limitations and are prepared to work with this particular group.  They can create modified routines that are both safe and effective for their elderly clients.

Sarah Danielson writes for The Guestlist Club where you can find info on China White Club, the hottest club in London.

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