Chapter 1. Perception and Fears: The Missing Link of Older Adults Training
The SPARTA method involves a synchronicity of Western exercise science and Eastern holistic arts that helps seniors overcome the perception of limitations and movement, promotes acuity, and develops self-confidence, which leads to more empowerment.
The SPARTA system utilizes the body’s innate ability to relearn movement along all anatomical planes. This is accomplished through progressive challenges to the individual’s cognitive and physical fitness. The program combines hand-eye coordination drills, change of direction, ankle mobility, grip strength, power exercises, perturbation, and memory recall drills, among others. It also requires that the fitness professional has an above-average level of engagement in and awareness of the senior’s body language and feedback.
Unlike previous older-adult training models, the SPARTA method is not exclusive to one training modality. That’s the missing link in the fitness industry today! The inclusivity of the system can play a vital role in helping seniors maintain their quality of life, prevent injury, and set the stage for long-term independence.
Later, I will describe the program in more detail, outline the exercises, and compare the SPARTA method to other similar programs.
SPARTA stands for Specificity, Perception, Accessibility, Rewarding, Timetable, and Awareness, and will be discussed in detail on page XX.
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Chapter 3: The Science of Athletic Training for Performance and How It Benefits Older Adults
The SPARTA method is rooted in the belief that the science of fitness coaching for seniors is similar to the science utilized for athletic training for performance, including not just the technical aspects of training but the need for the coach to offer passion, encouragement, and unconditional support.
What are the similarities between training athletes and older adults?
As we discussed in Chapter 2, the principles of exercise science, such as the SAID principle, apply to older adults as well as athletes. The goal for athletes is to train with no- or minimal-risk exercises so they can execute an activity at a high level. This is especially important when they are returning to activity after an injury.
For older adults, the goal revolves around functional fitness, training with the exercises that have the lowest risk of injury. The exercise benefits for older adults are physical, cognitive, and, for some, social engagement. But not all older adults are motivated to engage in an exercise program. Some may decrease or even cease outdoor or daily activities because of their fear of falling or because of their perception that their physical abilities are limited.
What exercises work best with the SPARTA method?
The majority of the exercises in this book are designed to challenge users’ COG (center of gravity), develop power, and teach COD (change of direction) skills. Beyond building physical wellness, there is a great opportunity to enhance their ability for retention and comprehension of exercises (promote brain activity ).
Older adult fitness is now in a new era and should include specific exercises that target areas with the highest sensitivity for injury from falls, such as the ankles, hips, spine, and forearm/wrists.
The SPARTA method involves a series of nontraditional exercises, with special focus on tempo, intensity, and recovery, to develop movement patterns in all anatomical planes of motion within clients’ physical limitations and with attention to their fears.
CHAPTER 7: FUTURE OLDER ADULTS AND SARCOPENIA
In this chapter, I discuss sarcopenia and the importance of education for our future older adult population and how it affects our seniors today.
Sarcopenia is the age-related involuntary loss of skeletal muscle and muscle strength. It can start as early as the fourth decade of life. It is documented that by the eighth decade of life there can be up to 50 percent loss of muscle mass. Other than the loss of strength, the functional declines associated with sarcopenia can in turn contribute to a number of adverse health outcomes, including loss of function, disability, and frailty. Sarcopenia is also associated with acute and chronic disease states, increased insulin resistance, fatigue, falls, and mortality.
Part of my goal in writing this book is to create a campaign of public awareness about the adverse effects of sarcopenia and bring awareness to individuals in their thirties and forties about the benefits of physical activity.
Below is an article I wrote called “Sarcopenia’s Foes: Active Aging,” which is geared to the general population and explains how and why we lose muscle (sarcopenia) as we age, why this matters, and why keeping up our strength is a great anti-aging strategy:
The human body is a marvel of nature and is designed to adapt and move. Our introduction to movement begins when we are born by first being able to hold our head up, then roll over, sit up, crawl, squat, and finally walk!
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