It is especially important that senior fitness retreat exercise gives much attention to lifestyle specific training.
Senior fitness retreat exercise selection is like sport specific training for athletes. Take dog walking, for example. Walking a dog is definitely an active lifestyle choice for many people. Like any activity, there are varying degrees of difficulty that present a conditioning effect for the participant (and for the dog!).
You need to be reasonably fit to walk a large dog.
Recently, I hosted an older woman in my senior fitness retreat residence for a 3-week functional strength program. She didn’t expect the senior fitness retreat exercise program to begin with focus on core activation. She was happy with her weight, but lacked the strength to walk her dog without fear of falling. She was a slim, slightly built woman and although she had lived a fit lifestyle most of her life, she had been recently sedentary. Her Labrador retriever was only 2 years old and would abruptly pull in random directions. The goal of being able to walk the dog twice daily without fear of falling was her primary concern. Volumes have been written to endorse the idea of getting a house dog for an older adult to avoid the pitfalls of living alone in a sedentary lifestyle. True, a dog is a great motivation in getting out for daily exercise. The dog is eager even when the owner is reluctant. However, an older adult needs to be reasonably fit in order to handle a large, strong dog such as a Labrador retriever.
Her perfect fitness solution began with the Bosu Balance Trainer, stability ball, and TRX.
My client loved her dog. However, stressful times had caused her to fall into a sedentary pattern. She felt that going out on walks without her beloved dog seemed “selfish” and inappropriate, yet the risks in handling the dog were too great. Her perfect fitness solution began with the Bosu Balance Trainer, stability ball, and TRX. Fall prevention is key for older adults. The good news is that balance training brings rapid results.
Training for Dog Walking starts with dynamic balance.
Sharpening her corrective reflexes on the Bosu, activating and strengthening her core on the stability ball, plus TRX pulling exercises for core control progressed her in a few short weeks. I improvised a dog walking challenge drill by having her stand on the Bosu while holding a long rope with which I randomly applied resistance. My unpredictable tugging in various directions simulated the resistance on her dog’s leash. The unpredictable reactive forces in walking a large dog can train multiple aspects of fitness from dynamic balance, core control with total body participation. Every muscle group is involved in resisting, pulling, redirecting and decelerating. Sport specific training applies when lifestyle training is specific enough for a fit dog walker!