The Cooper Institute
 

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH

 
 
 

Functional Training for the Older Adult

Written by
Sue Beckham, PhD
Posted in
Fit Tips

Friday, Sep 11, 2015

Functional training for the older adult includes challenges to improve mobility, stability, and balance. The following video shows exercise progressions that incorporate a variety of challenges to improve all three of these fitness components.

To perform ...

  • Level 1: Engage the Core: With the band anchored at a high attachment in front of the body, face the attachment point. Stand in the ready position and grasp both handles with the elbows extended and the hands slightly below shoulder level. Stand far enough back from the attachment so that the band is taut. Pull the handles to the side of the body, engaging the core. Pause and while keeping the core engaged, slowly return the band to the starting position. Be sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire movement (hips neutral, do not lean back on the pull, do not lean forward on the return). Perform 10 repetitions. Once a neutral spine can be maintained throughout the entire exercise, progress to level 2.
  • Level 2: Rise on Toe: From the same starting position, pull the handles to the sides of the body, engaging the core. While keeping the hands at the sides and core engaged, slowly rise on both toes, maintaining a neutral spine and good balance. Pause and then lower the heels back to the floor. Return the band to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions. When able to perform all repetitions while maintaining a neutral spine with good balance, move to level 3.
  • Level 3: Single Leg Raise: From the starting position, pull the handles to the sides of the body, engaging the core. While keeping the hands at the sides and core engaged, raise the right leg until the upper leg is about parallel to the floor with a 90-degree bend in the right knee. Pause and then slowly lower the right leg to the floor. Return the band to the starting position and repeat with the left leg for a total of 10 repetitions on each leg. Be sure to maintain balance and a neutral spine throughout the entire movement. After mastering this exercise with good form, move to level 4.
  • Level 4: Single Leg Raise with Rise on Toe: Perform the level 3 exercise but rise on the toe of the plant leg after raising the opposite leg. Lower the heel back to the floor and then lower the raised leg so that both feet are in line with each other. Return the band to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Work to maintain balance and a neutral spine throughout all phases of movement.

Discover more functional exercises and ways to keep older adults active and healthy at The Cooper Institute’s Older Adults and Exercise course.