The Nordic Health Clinic envisioned a physical therapy group program geared for senior citizens, and so we decided to launch a pilot program. The first group at the Ruskeasuo Nordic Health Clinic consisted of 12 people above the age of 60 years. The group trained just once a week for a around 3 months.
We took strength measurements at the beginning and at the end of the training period to examine what kind of impact the training program has on group participants. The results showed significant improvements in the physical fitness levels: participants’ abdominal strength increased by 24%, leg strength improved by 35% and overall balance by an astounding 155%. After realizing the beneficial impact of this initial pilot program, we continued to develop and expand the program further.
How the 60+ Senior Care Program works
On the first visit to the clinic, we ask the client to fill in a questionnaire, the objective of which is to understand the person’s health background and to gather other vital information needed in creating a safe training program for him/her. We also instruct the individual on how to use the exercise devices and how to set up the seats optimally.
The exercise routines of the Senior Care Program are tailored for each client. We take special care that the training programs only activate targeted muscles without causing stress on joints or weakness areas. The David devices used in the training makes it easy for seniors to follow the personalized training program and focus on developing weakness areas safely.
60+ Senior group training in Nordic Health Ruskeasuo.
All Nordic Health training programs use limited motion paths and small weight resistance to ensure safety. In the senior programs, not all devices are used in the beginning of the training period in order to avoid overloading the person. Rather, supplementary devices are added to the program once the person has become familiar with the exercise routine. Also, as the program progresses and the individual’s physical performance improves, more weight resistance is added and the range of motion is increased.
A senior group usually consists of 5-10 members. The training session is organized so that each member has his/her own arrival time at the clinic, scheduled in 5-minute intervals. With this arrangement we ensure that everyone has a chance to warm up and spend adequate time on the devices.
The exercise starts with a 10-minute cardio warm-up, after which the group comes together to stretch and work out. Each week a different theme is chosen for the coordinated exercise. These themes include different movements involving balance exercises, strength training, and so on. After the group work-out, group members head to the David devices to continue with their individualized training program.
Quality of life for Seniors improves
The 60+ Senior Care Program has become a safe haven for many clients as not only has the program benefited the physical health of senior citizens but there have been other positive social and emotional benefits to visiting the Nordic Health Clinic as well. The program has considerably improved the life quality of our senior clients on the whole.
The program participants say that a significant part of their improvement in well-being and happiness is due to feeling stronger and healthier. Participants have reported feeling more energetic, agile, and active on a daily basis.
For some, the ability to open a milk carton or to walk an extra kilometer has made all the difference.
Apart from the improved overall physical condition, the training has also enhanced the independence and self-worth of the seniors. For some, the ability to open a milk carton or to walk an extra kilometer has made all the difference. For instance, prior to starting the program, one of our clients could only walk 50 meters without having to rest. After a couple months of weekly visits to the clinic, he was able to walk several kilometers without resting.
The participants of the 60+ Senior Care Program have also reported that they have enjoyed the social aspect of exercising in a group setting. In addition, the possibility to use exercise devices autonomously knowing that help from physical therapists is available if needed, has made the program participants feel safe.
Even though there are other senior citizen training programs in local gyms, our clients feel that the Nordic Health 60+ Senior Care Program is a more efficient and safer way to look after one’s physical health. Compared to gym exercising, Nordic Health Program caters to many individuals even if they have preexisting conditions or have undergone surgery. Training at Nordic Health Centers is always safe.
Want to read this in Spanish? Visit our partner Athlon’s webpage which has the same article in Spanish.
Read also the following, illustrative, blog post (in Finnish) about a client’s thoughts on what training is like at Ruskeasuo Nordic Health Clinic.
For more information about the Nordic Health Senior Care Program, please, visit our Finnish website and our Facebook page “Nordic Health Ruskeasuo”.