Seniors and Fitness: Enhancing your PHR
Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Leann Reynolds
Vashon Athletic Club owner Kevin Allman, of Vashon, Wash., spends a
majority of his time at the gym training senior citizens, which make up
an healthy 30-40 percent of his clientele. Located on an island with a
population of just over 10,000 residents and a median age range of 44
years old (Seattle’s median age range is 34), Vashon’s demographics have
contributed to Allman becoming somewhat of an authority in training
“I really think that seniors can benefit the most from exercise
because the lack of strength and stamina tends to be most pronounced in
that age group,” he says. “Once a program is started, seniors typically
see a dramatic improvement in their quality of life as a result, which
in turn enhances their personal health record (PHR).”
Aside from just the physical benefits, exercise can also benefit seniors experiencing cognitive issues. A 2008 study
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that
a six-month program of physical activity provided a modest level of
improvement in memory related issues, and these results were consistent
throughout the 18-month follow-up period.
Often, getting started with exercise seems like a daunting task,
especially for those without past fitness experience. Fortunately,
fitness trainers like Allman are available for hire at most local gyms
and YMCAs, and it’s their jobs to help clients find the motivation to
get off the couch and into the gym, while at the same time not feeling
One of the easiest ways to get started is in a group setting. Vashon
Athletic Club, like many gyms, features Senior Water Walking and Aqua
Aerobics, both of which attract sizeable attendance.
“Water Fitness is great,” says Allman. “It is gentle and low impact
on the joints, and some of our clients with serious physical
impairments—those that can’t effectively use any land base modes of
exercise—can walk in the pool.”
According to Allman, water resistance improves strength modestly, is
effective for cardiovascular fitness, and provides a mental peace of
mind not found in other forms of exercise.
Enhancing one’s PHR through physical fitness and exercise can have
numerous benefits, ultimately leading to improved healthcare services
and treatment for those who keep them updated and accurate. Medical
records may, or may not keep up with life changes and improvements,
whereas a PHR reflects health improvements and lifestyle changes. It is
essential information, and it is up to the individual, or their caregiver, to maintain it.
About the Family CareGiver Blog: The Family CareGiver Blog is written by caregivers, for caregivers. Inspired and supported by Homewatch CareGivers’ President
Leann Reynolds, the Homewatch CareGivers blog brings over 30 years of
caregiving experience to its readers. Reynolds’ father, Paul Sauer,
founded Homewatch CareGivers, which means Leann has spent her entire
life in and around the caregiving business.
Reynolds’ goal with her blog is to offer fresh content, news and helpful
research to its readers. Each week her team discovers inspirational
caregiving stories. The Homewatch CareGivers blog gives Leann and her
fellow caregivers a platform to bring some of these stories to light.
personalhealthrecord, phr, medicalrecords, caregivers, seniors
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