Exercise for Frail Elders

Exercise for Frail Elders Book

Today’s fitness leader not only needs training in leading a comprehensive exercise program but also needs an understanding of the limitations and special needs of those with illness, disability, chronic disorders, or a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise for Frail Elders assists you in designing an exercise program as part of either a general recreation, wellness, restorative, or rehabilitation program. It is a practical reference for those instructors working with seniors, the frail elderly, and other special adult populations.

This training guide will give program directors, administrators, and fitness leaders the tools they need to help frail elders and adults with special needs maintain or improve their level of functional fitness. Most older adults have special needs, and this guide will equip leaders to teach exercise to all older adults. Exercise for Frail Elders offers assistance with the inherent challenges in when working with older adults. At the same time, the text shows leaders how to promote a sense of fun and social connectedness in an exercise program.

In the text, exercise programs begin with seated exercises and progress through standing exercises. They are presented in a linear progression that mirrors the setup of a comprehensive exercise class:

  • Warm-up exercises for enhancing range of motion, stretching, posture, and breathing exercises
  • Aerobic training exercises for increasing cardiovascular endurance
  • Resistance training exercises for increasing muscular strength and endurance
  • Cool-down exercises for promoting flexibility and relaxation

The authors have gone to great lengths to ensure that individual exercises are clear and accurately illustrated. Each exercise has photos, safety tips, and reminders as well as variation and progression options that will enable you to be creative and flexible with your fitness program and tailor your program to meet participants’ needs.

Exercise for Frail Elders is divided into two parts.

Part I describes how to plan a successful program; assess individual needs; ensure safety; and develop leadership skills for presenting, motivating, and creating a sense of belonging in your classes.

Part II shows how to implement exercise programs tailored to frail elders and those with special needs. The last chapter of part II presents strategies for putting together an exercise program to accommodate the participants, which includes developing the program as participants’ skills improve.

What makes Exercise for Frail Elders unique is the thorough presentation and explanations that show how to design, present, and adapt an exercise program to meet the needs of older adults. The information is presented in a user-friendly format and includes reference charts, forms, checklists, and exercise recommendations for a comprehensive list of diseases and disorders. This book is a valuable resource not only for directors and administrators of physical activity programs but also for fitness leaders working with older adults.


Part I. Planning a Successful Exercise Program

Chapter 1. The Participants: Know Their Individual Needs

  • Defining Frail Elders and Special Needs
  • Common Medical Disorders in the Elderly
  • Summary

Chapter 2. The Exercise Program: Make It Motivating, Safe, and Effective

  • Make It Motivating
  • Make It Safe
  • Make It Effective
  • Summary

Chapter 3. The Leader: Steps to Success

  • Creating a Sense of Fun and Community
  • How to Set Up a Group Exercise Class
  • Helpful Tips for Opening Your Exercise Class
  • Successful Strategies for Leading Your Exercise Class
  • Helpful Tips for Closing Your Exercise Class
  • Summary

Part II. Implementing an Exercise Program

Chapter 4. Warm-Up First: Range-of-Motion, Stretching, Posture, and Breathing Exercises

  • Guidelines for Warm-Up Exercises
  • Safety Precautions for Warm-Up Exercises
  • Basic Seated Warm-Up Exercises
  • Basic Standing Warm-Up Exercises
  • Variations and Progression

Chapter 5. Aerobic Training for Cardiovascular Endurance (by Janie Clark, MA)

  • Basic Seated Aerobic Exercises
  • Basic Standing Aerobic Exercises
  • Variations and Progression
  • Illustrated Aerobic Exercises

Chapter 6. Resistance Training for Muscular Strength and Endurance

  • Myths About Resistance Training
  • Basic Seated Resistance Exercises
  • Basic Standing Resistance and Balance Exercises
  • Variations and Progression
  • Illustrated Resistance Exercises

Chapter 7. Cool-Down: Stretching and Relaxation Exercises

  • Guidelines for Cool-Down Exercises
  • Safety Precautions for Cool-Down Exercises
  • Basic Seated Cool-Down Exercises
  • Basic Standing Stretching Exercises
  • Variations and Progression
  • Illustrated Stretching Exercises

Chapter 8. Putting Your Exercise Program Together

  • Designing Your Exercise Program
  • Scheduling Your Exercise Classes
  • Modifying the Exercises
  • Progressing Your Exercise Class
  • Maintaining Fitness Results
  • Monitoring Attendance and Progress


Appendix A. Physiological Benefits of Physical Activity for Older Persons

Appendix B. Psychological Benefits of Physical Activity for Older Persons

Appendix C.Statement of Medical Clearance for Exercise

Appendix D. Cover Letter to Physician

Appendix E. Medical History and Risk Factor Questionnaire

Appendix F. Exercise Program Informed Consent

Appendix G. Par-Q and You: Fitness Questionnaire

Appendix H. Fitness Goal Map

Appendix I. Exercise Equipment Chart

Appendix J. Muscles of the Human Body

Appendix K. Resistance Training Log