Improving quality of life through strength training sounds great, but its gets complicated when you begin considering all the factors...
From injury, rehabilitation, mobility impairment, frailty, and memory loss, all the way to independence, leadership, competition, motivation, and exceptional wellness, senior fitness runs the full spectrum of human health. Learning from others in the industry only serves to make your strength training program as effective and useful as possible.
—It also demonstrates to other administrators which directors are paying attention!
Background: Why Seniors Should Strength Train
(In case you didn’t already know)
Studies over the last many years have concluded that weight bearing exercise can greatly improve quality of life. Not only does regular exercise build up bone, but it combats the frailty and weakness that can quickly begin to creep up after age 65.
Some of the highlights for senior strength training are:
- Combating osteoporosis
- Reducing arthritis
- Improving balance
- Lessening pulmonary diseases
- Decreasing back pain
- Fighting obesity
- Improving sleep
- Helping to fight diabetes
- Lowering injury rates
While it’s true that strength training can do all of this and more, the question out there is...
What strength training program is the best for seniors?
All kinds of questions come up for directors and administrators in order to find the solution to that important question because, well, Results Matter.
- When purchasing equipment, is it better to focus on traditional equipment or more specialized?
- What’s the most effective strategy for motivation in workout centers?
- Are smaller incremental additional weights really that important?
- Are more reps at lower weight still the way to go?
And lots more questions!
Examining the way competitors go about these things can help answer some of these questions in a free and painless way.
How HUR Stays #1
It’s true that, HUR, as a company, has exclusively focused on senior fitness as a platform for success in wellness. They wanted to be really good at one thing, instead of pretty good at many things, just to cover a broader market. They understand that the specialized skills of seniors needed specialized equipment to optimize their potential. And then they ran with it.
But it takes more than that...
HUR being #1 in the industry means they’re always paying close attention. They continually review, research, and grow, as the industry shifts and expands. Part of the process in doing this, is learning from the competition what works, and what doesn’t. After all, the same holds true for contrasting philosophies and business models of competitors, as it does for strength training in senior wellness centers.
Learn from the mistakes of others, so you don’t have to make the same ones!
Some mistakes can be avoided simply by learning what not to do from competitors. This is an administrative no-brainer.
The 5 Things Competitors Can Teach you About Senior Strength Training—Revealed
- HOW TO MAKE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE BETTER
Start by taking a look at their website. It’s often the gateway to their fitness program. Does it list trainer bios? Do they blog on fitness? Do they offer strength training classes, support, workshops, or otherwise, for seniors? Is the information easy to understand for professionals and lay people alike?
Most importantly, how are they reviewed? What are their members and staff saying about their wellness program? Do they talk about it at all? Is it shared on social media? Is fitness part of that senior centers noticeable promoted factors, or is it in the background?
- HOW TO MAKE IT WORTH IT— LONG TERM / SHORT TERM
While budgets and bottom lines play a role in senior living center decision making, the long term goals versus the short term goals, change the outcomes—completely. Not doing something right the first time, takes more time to do it right the second time, and fix the mistakes from the first time errors.
A short term goal may be to get some equipment, stick it in the corner, and maybe someone will use it in their spare time. This would save time and money at first.
The long term goal would be getting the exact machine needed for a particular type of user, training and explanation on how to use it, prominent placement in the living facility, ease of use, measurable outcomes, independent usage...and the list goes on. Like most things in life, there would be more cost upfront, but larger savings and greater returns for the investment—especially happier, healthier members!
- HOW TO MAKE YOUR STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM THE BEST, AND PROVE IT
Start by checking in how effective your competitors strength training program is? Is it possible to even know? Do they have a way of measuring and quantifying their results?
HUR SmartTouch technology enables numerous reports to be accessed on the individual level, as well as group level. This is cutting-edge technology however, and unfortunately, similar programs may be nowhere to be found. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t keeping track in more traditional ways.
- HOW TO BUY AND USE THE BEST EQUIPMENT
Start by getting an in depth review of their equipment. Other senior center directors and staff may be willing to share this information, as most are trying to make it better for their senior members as well!
How old is it? Does their strength equipment need a trainer to explain its usage, or does it promote independence? Is it all one brand or mismatched? Are they regularly maintained and cleaned? This information will inform your staff on many different levels.
- HOW NOT TO HAVE YOUR MEMBERS LIFT WEIGHTS
This is a big one. If your members are lifting free weights at all, reconsidering your equipment for safety might be added to your to do list.
Type of equipment aside, examining how seniors should lift weights is critical. Are older adults advised to lift to the point of exhaustion? Does the kind of equipment being used, only go up by large, 1-5 pound increments, or otherwise, pressure older adults to lift heavier weights than may be safe for them?
If it isn’t safe, don’t do it. That’s obviously true.
The problem is, if you don’t know it’s unsafe…
how would you know not to do it?
Learning from Others
Senior Living Centers that have wellness as the focus of their fitness program can approach the goal differently, but still be successful. Learning from how they do things is an easy way for both centers to just get better at what they’re trying to do. Win-Win.
HUR knows, that making every senior fitness center a thriving hub of proactive health, works collectively to elevate the entire community of aging adults to live better, longer, and stronger… in the New Age of Strength.