Everyone has issues with compliance and many people “beat themselves up” for not being able to stick to a fitness program. We’ve found that if a person is willing to make an effort, then even if they miss 50% of the time, it’s much better than never trying. The more times someone tries, the stickier the program usually becomes.
For almost 27 years, our Wellness Specialists/Personal Trainers have been working with people in their homes to help them increase their health and fitness. With people over 50 years of age, reaching goals becomes more complex. As people reach age 60, 70, 80 and 90; things begin to change. There are normally more challenges that can get in someone’s way. Injuries take longer to heal and the body takes longer to recover from an exercise session. Strength training, cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and balance are equally important to health and fitness. Safety is the number one priority.
Having worked with over 600 people, we hear some of the same phrases again and again. It’s the self-doubt, worry, and concerns coming out. Things like:
- I’m having a difficult time trying to exercise on my own.
- I want to lessen the number of drugs I have to take every day.
- My knee/hip/shoulder/lower back/neck is bothering me.
- I’m really starting to feel my age, maybe it’s too late to try.
We can tackle of these challenges with the same solution, a tailored program to meet a client’s specific situation. We use an analogy with clients. We talk about “climbing a ladder”. It’s synonymous with any of the issues they face. When climbing a ladder, everyone starts with the first rung. The first rung is analogous to a first step toward any goal, we take it one step at a time. Talking to clients about “climbing the ladder” helps them to realize the amount of effort it will take to work toward their goals and that the path forward works over time.When a client starts working with us and they are over 70, we talk to them about doing the best they can. If they try to push themselves too hard, they could end up with an injury. Any injury for someone over 70 can be long lasting and get in the way of their improvement. We talk with them about just doing the best they can and it is in many cases, exactly where they should be. “Climbing the ladder” helps them realize that to try to get to the top, they have to start slowly and carefully.
We’ve learned that telling a client that they’ve tried offers them a strong reinforcement to realize they just have to do the best they can and that it is truly progress. “I’m doing the best I can” is often just right. The nagging inside voice in their heads can be tamed by being kind. Working with a focus forward. Doing the best you can is perfect for now and is just enough to get someone to climb to the next rung.