When it comes to fitness regimens for seniors, creating a system of social support can be a great asset. Whether one chooses to get their close friends together for a walking group or sets up a team sport and invites local seniors to join in, exercising in a social environment provides a source of bonding, encouragement, and accountability.
When working as a team or group toward fitness goals, establishing common objectives will be beneficial. Prior to launching into the group’s regimen, set up a meeting place and time to discuss goals, health concerns, and physical ability. Figuring out which goals and abilities all or most members of the group have in common will help the group leader and group members to determine how frequently they meet and how they will hold each other accountable. It may be a good idea to create group benchmarks in order to encourage adherence to the program and to give all members one or more common goals to work toward.
To keep things interesting and to encourage a motivating and fun environment, organize competitions. Competition can give group members something to look forward to and can encourage them to stick to the program in hopes of improving their fitness levels and gaining a competitive edge. The competitions need not always involve fitness events, but can involve bi-monthly or monthly check-ins. Use colorful and organized charts to mark each other’s progress so that everyone has a visual reminder of the health and fitness benefits they are reaping by participating in the fitness group. Also, encouraging all able members of the group to contribute toward prizes for the winners of the competition can get everyone on the same page, reinforcing participation in the team effort and motivating members to work toward winning that grand prize.
Keep in Touch
Group fitness is a wonderful way to target the fitness and health goals of numerous individuals and to work toward those common goals. Group fitness is also a wonderful way to make new friends and expand one’s circle of connections. Create a contact list for the members of the group so that participants will be able to contact each other between group workouts. To encourage a fun, bonded group, organize non-exercise gatherings that involve fun social activities, healthy meals, or a night on the town.
Prior to engaging in any exercise routine, it is imperative that seniors and any individual with health concerns visit their primary care physician to receive clearance for exercise. Encourage every member of the exercise group to visit their doctors for clearance, exercise restrictions, and exercise recommendations. At the doctor’s visit, one ought to request that their physician stipulate appropriate and safe exercises. Discussing any concerns, pains, and injuries with a physician prior to beginning exercise will help to keep you and your teammates on the same page, making them aware of any modifications needing to be made to the regimen.
Chris Freytag. Seniors: Your New Target Audience. ACE Certified News, December 2009/January 2010.