I’ve just returned from the Can-Fit Pro Fitness Conference in Toronto and was thrilled to attend so many workshops on healthy aging and effective exercises for older adults. Many of the seminars were co-sponsored by ICAA, the International Coalition on Active Aging. Of the 400 sessions held, nearly 20 were devoted to exercise for older adults with such topics as aqua fitness, strength and balance programs, and the top ten trends in aging.
The message was clear. The older adult market is a force to be reckoned with. Exercise programs need to meet the needs of the aging population and facilities need to be age-friendly. Many other seminars referred to training movement instead of muscle with the emphasis placed on performing the activities of daily living (ADLs) and not just sports specific skills.
At a session on stability and balance training, I learned about the latest research which showed approximately 20% increase in overall strength and balance and 33% improvement in lateral (side to side) balance in just three months of perfoming specific exercises by the participants. Considering that one-third of people over age 65 residing in their own homes suffer a fall each year, which translates to 10 million falls in the U.S., that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in older adults, and that the direct medical expenses of 1.8 million falls in the U.S. in 2000 translated to $16.4 billion, not to mention the pain and suffering, there is an obvious need to reduce falls.
More information on the ICAA can be found at www.icaa.cc
To your health,