2013 Fitness Trends for Seniors

Developments in fitness equipment and technology that complement rehabilitation and add to the overall enhancement of the wellness experience have arrived.

Laureen Lowe-Albrecht; Orchard Park Health Care- Centennial
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With more and more seniors getting fit inside the gym at rehabilitation centers and major advances in technology, plan to see way more electronic fitness resources in 2013. The most advanced rehabilitation centers use “Smart Card” technology. By sliding the card into the small computer monitor, the machine remembers your last workout. The machine’s memory includes personal settings, such as weight, age and gender and also adjusts factors for the speed, resistance and number of reps in physical rehabilitation. The Smart Card system is for exercise planning, recording, feedback and instructions. It also sets up the exercise machines repetition and resistance automatically.

Although 'functional training' has been a buzzword in the fitness industry for several years, experts think we'll see an emphasis on a more personalized side of this style of training. Because the human body moves in all planes with varied resistances, the newest technologies operate tri-dimensionally through any possible movement patterns. Rehab is not just lifting a dumbbell anymore and repeating 3 sets of 10. That’s reported to be ‘old-school’ mentality by therapists who operate with the latest equipment. Advanced rehabilitative equipment will activate the whole body to mimic human function, whether that is playing golf, painting a room or washing a car.

More equipment on the horizon operates with air. According to HUR Fitness Machines for senior rehabilitation, the newest advent of senior rehabilitation uses air resistance. They claim it’s one of the safest measures for the active and aging population. “Using air as resistance overcomes the additional effort required to lift a static weight at the beginning of an exercise and to slow it down at the end, making the movement feel smoother and safer to execute. HUR’s more consistent load reduces stress on joints and connective tissues. The workload is applied more specifically to the muscles for more effective results. It mimics the natural function of the muscles.”

Advanced fitness equipment is now better geared for senior safety and comfort. Many seniors can’t tolerate their entire joint’s range of motion. Those who are fresh out of surgery or who have painful arthritic restrictions can now rely on the latest built-in restrictors. Therapists can now select those limits for each patient. For instance, if a patient can’t tolerate too much knee flexion, there are machines that can restrict that range of motion to whatever is most appropriate and comfortable. The latest equipment has heart rate monitors built into the handle bars to help determine safe tolerance to exercise. Other advanced safety features are found on newer recumbent elliptical machines. There’s less jarring of movement and is safer for joints to handle an increase or decrease in resistance. Rehabilitation for seniors mandates comfortable and larger seats that slope slightly upward for maximum comfort. The other improvements are as simple as ergonomically designed swivel seats and sloped handlebars that also swivel and are designed to increase ease of access.

The latest treadmill called the AlterG comes from NASA. From the waist down, the treadmill encircles the body with differential air pressure technology, which was initially developed to help astronauts learn to walk on the moon. The significance comes with the ability to reduce body weight, much like walking in water. Therapists can actually calibrate the precise un-weighing of the body by 80%. This means that if a patient can’t walk due to pain with weight bearing, then weight is taken out of the equation. But the machine adds more to rehab. It’s connected to a viewing monitor to allow the therapist to give cues to improve walking patterns and to allow the patient to speed-up their learning through the use of this monitor feed-back technique. Because its low impact, it’s better for seniors who mandate a more comfortable exercise experience.

 

Submitted and written by Laureen Albrecht at 201-579-3301. Call, leave a message or text for more information and if assistance needed.

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