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Weight Resistance and Strength Training Benefits for our Aging Population

By Fred Dyck, YWCA Fitness Manager, Fitness on 25th, B.Sc.P.E.

A common condition many of our aging population face is the need to introduce and improve upon your basic physical strength. A successful weight resistance program in the gym can improve your bone density, improve your posture, improve your mobility, improve your flexibility and hopefully improve your quality of life. Successful progressive weight training for seniors has even been reported to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis. 1

At the YWCA, Fitness on 25th we want to help all of our aging members finding success to introducing or improving on your progressive weight training. Many of our aging membership choose our Aqua Fitness programs as your main fitness focus. And, that is a fine way to go. We believe our Aqua Fitness program and our instructors lead the strongest program in the city. For those of you who do not wish to partake in Aqua Fitness or wish to augment that part of your wellness program, here are some dry land options and programs we provide and how you can incorporate them into your use of YWCA Fitness on 25th.

Gentle Land Class (pictured above): Tuesday’s at 11am in the Studio. Personal Trainer Val Kirk leads this class which offers an introductory class in progressive weight training. This class, by design, is a very mild offering which utilizes light bands, light weights, chairs and other support equipment as an introduction to weight resistance. Participants in this class will practice movements designed to improve one’s functional fitness. This means basic but important functional fitness moves like air squats and shoulder movements. In the fall, our plan is to expand upon this class by scheduling for Tuesdays and Thursdays as we focus on providing more opportunities for our senior members to improve upon their strength and mobility.

AM Energizer Class: This class is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 am and is designed as a moderate aerobic workout which will build upon movements and exercises from the Gentle Land Class.  This popular class provides the next step as a person graduates to needing more from your workout. Functional movements and consequent physical benefits in your daily life will come from regular participation in this class. This class is usually hosted in the Gymnasium.

The Weight Room Orientation: If you have not had a weight room orientation we would be glad to offer you a quick tour of the room including how to use some of the equipment. For many people, the machines are a safe place to start and get a person used to the weight room environment. We will help you get started during the orientation but also show you some alternative ways to use free weights. Our weight room has dumbbell options form 2 pounds and up wiht many numerous and safe ways to offer progressive resistance training for you; Book weight room orientations at the front desk. If one of the times we have available does not work well for your schedule request a more appropriate time and we will work to accommodate it.

Other Class Options and Scaling: Do not ever be concerned about attending other classes. For certain, some of our other classes offer up-tempo and sometimes more advanced exercises. But, because of our wide age demographic at the YWCA, our instructors understand we can have a 20 year old working alongside a 60 year old. Knowing this, our instructors are always prepared with scale-able options for people. For example, we might ask for push ups in the workout but we would offer numerous ways to complete the exercise in a way that allows all to participate. Check out our class schedule below to see what might fit your interest and availability.

http://www.ywcasaskatoon.com/fitness-on-25th/class-schedule/

References for this article:

  1. http://www.cochrane.org/CD002759/MUSKINJ_progressive-resistance-strength-training-for-improving-physical-function-in-older-adults