The Fit Circle

Sara Reynolds has been a full time Strength + Conditioning Coach and former professional athlete for over 25years, working with clients inUnited Kingdom, Australia and USA. The program she brings to Assisted Residential Living facilities has been carefully curated to accomodate for and improve on, the participants abilities, physiological frailties while encouraging  positive self awareness, self confidence and social community. Sessions are 20-30min in duration following a periodised functional exercise plan that focuses on upper body mobility and strength, improving postural awareness and breath control, core awareness, lower body strength, balance and coordination with special attention to the feet and ankles. Use of pilates tools provide the necessary challenge to create improvements in motor skills, mobility and strength. Laughter and fun are always key to creating a motivated and encouraging environment with music an important dynamic for the session. 

Why Resistance Exercise Training? The benefits of resistance training in all age groups has been widely documented, however as we age the frequency of participation in resistance or load baring exercise declines sharply which poses a challenge in the care of older adults. Ageing, even in the absence of chronic disease, is associated with a variety of biological changes that can be problematic for both physical and psychological wellbeing to an individual. Current research has demonstrated that countering muscle disuse through resistance training is a powerful intervention to combat the loss of muscle strength and muscle mass, physiological vulnerability, and their debilitating consequences on physical functioning, mobility, independence, chronic disease management, psychological well-being, quality of life, and healthy life expectancy. 

As a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, ageing manifests differently between individuals and considering genetic, environmental, behavioural, and demographic characteristics. Broadly speaking the impacts of chronic conditions associated with ageing can be minimised by managing the rate of sarcopenia, or muscle loss.Age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) has an estimated prevalence of 10% in adults older than 60 years rising to >50% in adults older than 80 years. Prevalence rates are lower in community-dwelling older adults than those residing in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Loss of muscle mass is generally gradual (up to 1.4%  per year), accelerating after age 60.  Sarcopenia is considered part of the causal pathway for strength loss, disability, and morbidity in older adult populations. 

Research has shown that this muscle loss is preventable and reversible. Muscle “use” or resistance exercise training has been consistently shown to counteract muscle weakness and physical frailty, improve physical and cognitive performance,  improve bone density  metabolic health and insulin sensitivity, extended independent living, and reduced risk for falls and fractures in older adults. Following a program that is periodised (activity volume and intensity programmed for the participants with awareness of recovery capability and injury prevention). Resistance training when done functionally has benefits for cardiovascular health, bone density, fat metabolisation, insulin response and diabetes management/prevention, balance, coordination and neuromuscular function.

[paraphrased from:Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 33(8):p 2019-2052, August 2019. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003230].