senior personal training

Far and away the most important thing you can do to slow the aging process

“He’s just old”… that is what Jack told me after helping a classmate out of a car on to a walker. How old? They were both 75, but one stayed strong while the other became weak. In years to come that scenario will play out in our lives in a one form or another. At some point your role could switch from the one doing the helping to the one being helped. It is better to have a say in the matter rather than have the infirmities of aging prematurely dictate your role.

Generally we are not put in senior care facilities for being out of breath. It is when we are too weak to carry out daily activities on our own. Weakness leads to decreased energy and balance. This leads to an increased probability of a fall with serious injury. At that point somebody will have to help you out of the car.

Make changes now. Don’t wait until you are ready for a walker. Choose the one exercise that will far and away have the biggest impact on your quality of life and so many measures of good health - increase your energy, increase your bone density, forestall cognitive decline, become stronger, avoid aches and pains, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of injury and sickness.  A properly designed high intensity interval strength training program will do all that and much more.

Don’t know where to start?  At Austin Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Trainers we will be with you every step of the way.  We work with people of all ages. We use MedX equipment; with its special medical rehab features, we can safely accommodate those with limiting conditions that other facilities are not equipped to handle.

Two guys walk into a gym once a week, guess what happens eleven years later?

Jim is 78 years old. His friends no longer exercise. One friend who couldn’t get out of squat position, asked him if he could still squat. He responded, “Hell, I can do it with weights”.

John is a psychologist. He is 75. One of his patients is the same age and lives in a senior care facility. John lives at home.

Both Jim and John have been coming to our Austin Personal Training location for once-a-week 30 minutes exercise sessions for the past eleven years. Had John or Jim not exercised the past 11 years it is likely they’d be in the same physical state as some of their contemporaries. 

One session a week has been shown to be optimal for strength gains for seniors.  It is not how much exercise you can withstand it is how little you need to produce positive change.  Do a little more each week, and over time, it will be transformative.

If you do nothing you’ll be weaker, have less energy, and more prone to sickness and injury. When injuries do occur the outlook for recovery will not be encouraging. With proper strength training you will:

You want more life? ‘Cause this is how you get more life…

If exercise is not demanding there is no reason for the body to change. According to a study you will live longer if the exercise you do is more demanding. From the study, A higher effort-based paradigm in physical activity and exercise for public health: making the case for a greater emphasis on resistance training:

“It appears that risk reductions [in morbidities and all-cause mortality] are greater when physical activity and/or exercise is performed at a higher intensity of effort.… A mode customarily performed to a relatively high intensity of effort that we believe has been overlooked is resistance training [strength training]. “

High intensity interval training (HIIT) for strength, the training we do at our Austin Fitness Training facility, will positively affect:

Body density

Energy levels

Muscular strength

Cardiovascular health


Cognitive function


Sugar levels

Breathing capacity

The cumulative improvements facilitate a longer life. HIIT workouts don’t take long, they are usually done once a week, and they are effective in addressing a wide range of health issues. Our workouts combine strength training and interval training; it’s a circuit of exercises working all the major muscle groups. We use MedX equipment.  The equipment’s special medical rehab features make it adaptable for people of any age or condition.

Those extremely out of shape need only do a little more than they are used to handling. Do a little more each week, and over time, the change will be transformative.  Be stronger, live longer.

Essential exercise to combat arthritis

Arthritic pain leads to decreased activity, decreased range of motion, and accelerated loss of muscle (rheumatoid cachexia). This leads to lower energy levels and an increased likelihood of injury. Serious injuries from falling will lead to a life cut short with a greatly diminished quality of life. This decrease in activity also leads to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease.

It doesn’t have to be that way. According to this Arthritis Foundation article,Strength Training is Essential for Arthritis, strength training will: reduce pain, increase range of motion, burn calories, and boost bone density. The catch is finding the type exercise that will strengthen muscles and not exacerbate pain.

At Austin Strength Trainers and New Orleans Strength Trainers we work with those with compromised joints. We have several clients who have had hips, knee, and shoulder replacements. We use MedX equipment. The equipment has special medical-rehab features that make exercise easier on the joints. Anybody of any age can do it; each week you do a little bit more that you are used to handling. Muscles are worked safely to a deep fatigue, and it is cardiovascularly demanding. Each week you will get stronger. You will add years and quality to your life, arthritis notwithstanding.

Do not go gentle into that good night...

...Old age should burn and rave at close of day. 

The gentle way is not so gentle:

Gentle inactivity leads to > weakness leads to > slower gait speed > decreased balance > decreased energy levels > decreased resistance to injury and illness > increased probability of a fall and serious injury with a grave outcome as a result - a life cut short with a greatly diminished quality of life.

To burn and rave at the close of day:

Increasing strength leads to > increased gait speed > increased balance > stronger muscles and bones > increased endurance and energy levels > increased resistance to illness and injury > decreased likelihood of falling and a greater probability of surviving a fall unscathed - a significantly higher quality of life for far longer in later years.

Generally people are not placed in senior care for being out of breath; it is usually because they are too weak to carry out daily activities safely.

One strength training session a week has been shown to be optimal for strength gains for seniors. With proper strength training you will:

Add all these improvements up; it is like having a fountain of youth. At our Austin Senior Fitness facility we work with people of all ages. We use MedX equipment; with its special medical rehab features, we can accommodate those with limiting conditions.

One of our trainers has four clients in their 80s. One of our senior clients went from playing nine of holes of golf every two days to 36 holes of golf over two days. It is never too late to start a strength training program.

Senior golfer ready to hang up clubs, now plays 18 holes a day

After nine holes of golf Marcel was too tired to play the back nine. The next day he was too tired to go out on the course again. At 72 years of age he was nearing the age to hang up his clubs. He began strength training once a week for 30 minutes. A year later he could play 18 holes one day, and the very next day he could play 18 more. He was stronger, less prone to injury, and he had more energy. No, not just a feeling like he had more energy, he actually had more strength and energy - the science to back it up.  

Armed with those results he could play 27 more holes of golf. Those additional 27 holes contributed positively to his health as well. Marcel loved to play golf; he was doing it more, enjoying it more, and he was hitting the ball farther. It's not how much exercise you can withstand; it's how much you need to produce change. Do that exercise each week; the benefits will accumulate to the point where there is significant improvement.

Train too much, you'll get sick, injured or quit.  At our Austin Senior Personal Training facility we work with people of all ages and can help you find the right dose of the right exercise that will  produce ongoing results. We use MedX equipment; with its special medical-rehab features we can accommodate those with limiting conditions.

Increasing Capillarization and Reversing the Aging Process

As we age there is a decrease in capillarization and an increase in anabolic resistance.

If you increase the amount of capillaries of muscles (capillarization) you’ll more quickly get more blood flows, oxygen, and nutrients to those muscles. You’ll be able to engage in physical activities longer.

As we age our body down-grades its ability to synthesize protein (anabolic resistance). This protein is necessary to maintain muscle.

How can you reverse anabolic resistance and increase capillarization?

From this study, Resistance Training Increases Skeletal Muscle Capillarization in Healthy Older Men:

“Resistance-type exercise training can effectively augment skeletal muscle fiber capillarization in older men. The greater capillary supply may be an important prerequisite to reverse anabolic resistance and support muscle hypertrophy during lifestyle interventions aiming to support healthy aging.

If your goal is stronger muscles with improved skeletal muscle fiber capillarization, at Austin senior personal training and at New Orleans senior personal training we can help you get there.

174% strength increase for nonagenarians after 8 weeks of high intensity training

From this study, High-intensity strength training in nonagenarians. Effects on skeletal muscle, the results for nine 90+ year old institutionalized volunteers after eight weeks of high intensity strength training:

  • Strength gains averaged 174%
  • mid-thigh muscle area increased 9.0%  
  • gait speed improved 48%  


The study concludes that high-resistance weight training leads to significant gains in muscle strength, size, and functional mobility among frail residents of nursing homes up to 96 years of age.

At Austin Senior Fitness Trainers and New Orleans Senior Fitness Trainerswe work with people of all ages.  We use MedX equipment, with its special medical-rehab features, we can accommodate those with limiting conditions.

Our oldest client was 95, and one of our trainers has four clients in their 80s. It is never too late to start a strength training program.

Got Sarcopenia? If you are over forty you have it

The term sarcopenia has not been in common usage for very long (see graph), but the condition has been around forever.  Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle tissue that occurs as a natural part of the aging process. According to this article, Why You're Aging Ungracefully, there are two things we can do to help maintain our muscle as we age - lift weights and eat high-quality protein.

A quote from the article:

Sarcopenia begins naturally in the 4th and 5th decades of life, making your 40s and 50s an ideal time to increase dietary protein and weight training, but even those in their 60s and beyond can benefit."

Another quote: "The stronger you are, the more muscle you have, the less likely you are to become sick or die."  

It is a pretty simple equation: the more muscle you have the less likely you are to die. That is because muscle positively affects so many of the bio-markers of aging. There are bio-markers we cannot influence by exercise such as hearing loss or graying hair, but there is a long list of bio-markers we can change most effectively by strength training. People are not generally placed in nursing homes because they are out of breath; it is because they are too weak to carry out daily activities on their own.

At our Austin Fitness Training facility we use MedX equipment with its special medical rehab features. We can accommodate those with limiting conditions and can work with people of any age. One of our trainers has four clients in their 80s, and our oldest client was 95. Strength training can add years of vitality to your life. It is never too late to start.

More articles on aging here.

Strength training study shows seniors improving far more than younger set

Two groups of men and women strength trained for six months. One group was older and the other younger. At the start of the study the older group was 59% weaker than the younger group. After six months the older adults were only 38% weaker than younger adults. Both groups improved, but the older group improved much more. 

From this study Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

“We conclude that healthy older adults show evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness, but that this can be partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training”.

Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. Six months of strength training partially reversed mitochondria impairments to a level consistent with a younger stage in life. It is like having a fountain of youth.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we use MedX equipment with its special medical rehab features.  We can accommodate those with limiting conditions and can work with people of any age.  Our oldest client was 95; one of our trainers has four clients in their 80s. It is never too late to start a strength training program. It can add years of vitality to your life.  

Pictured is Stella in a field of icy grass.  She was a fixture at the New Orlean Kelly Personal Training facility and now visits the Austin Kelly Personal Training facility. She is 12 and still fetches enthusiastically.

Muscle mass a better predictor of longevity

From this Scientific American article, Muscle Mass Beats BMI as Longevity Predictor:

“Researchers analyzed BMI and muscle mass data from more than 3,600 seniors in a long-term study. And they tracked which seniors had died, a decade later. Turns out BMI wasn't much good at predicting chance of death. 

But muscle mass was: more muscle meant better odds of survival.” 

BMI is a dubious measurement to begin with.  Pictured is Mike Tyson. According to BMI charts he would be classified as clinically obese. He is not fat and has substantial muscle mass.

More muscle mass leads to a host of positive benefits: more strength, increased gait speed, enhanced flexibility, increased bone density, lower likelihood of falling, increased likelihood of surviving a fall without injury, higher metabolism, lower blood sugar, less chance of developing metabolic syndrome, and better able to positively stress the cardiovascular system just to name a few benefits.

People are usually not put in nursing homes because they're out of breath; it's usually because they lack the strength to carry out daily activities on their own.  With proper strength training you can increase your muscle mass – even seniors, and you’ll feel better.  At New Orleans Fitness Trainers and Austin Fitness trainers our strength training program is designed to be efficient and effective in getting those benefits listed above and live longer with a higher quality of life

Adding muscle and losing fat at age 65

Kathy is 65 years old and five feet tall. She does her strength training at our gym once a week and attends a weight loss clinic somewhere else. At the weight loss clinic they have a machine that measures body composition. Kathy said it even measures body composition in different parts of the body. 

As a result of their weight loss program people generally lose weight - some of it is fat, and some of it is muscle. Kathy did lose fat, and contrary to normal expectations, they were surprised to find that she actually gained muscle.

If you attempt to lose weight by calorie restriction your body will catabolize lean body mass to lower the body’s metabolism to compensate for the decreased caloric intake. If you add proper strength training to the mix your body will make a positive adaption to withstand the stresses placed on it by strength training. The body does so by maintaining or even adding muscle mass and thereby increasing metabolism.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training we offer high intensity training (HIT) that has been show effective for weight loss. All you have to do is stick with it and make modest changes in eating habits.  You will lose fat and more likely keep it off.

The effect of six seconds of exercise on the elderly

I once asked a 65-year-old friend of mine when was the last time he had gone all out. He replied, “John it's been decades”.
Our bodies respond to the stresses placed on them by making a positive adaptation to handle that stress. Our skin becomes tan, our hands become calloused, our muscles become stronger, and our body increases its capacity to burn sugar longer.
If we do not place demands on our body our body downgrades its ability to handle demanding work. Muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain. If we do not need it we lose it, and our bodies become weaker. As a consequence we burn fewer calories, we lose flexibility, our cardiovascular system becomes compromised, we are more prone to injury, our immune system becomes weaker, and our bones decalcify.

How much demanding work is enough to cause a positive change?  That depends on how far out of shape you are. From this article, Six seconds 'can transform health', comes this quote:

"A group of pensioners came into the lab twice a week for six weeks and went hell for leather on an exercise bike for six seconds.

They would allow their heart rate to recover and then go for it again, eventually building up to one minute of exercise by the end of the trial.

'They were not exceptionally fast, but for someone of that age they were,' researcher Dr John Babraj said.

The results, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed participants had reduced their blood pressure by 9%, increased their ability to get oxygen to their muscles and found day-to-day activities like getting out of a chair or walking the dog easier."

Is Hell for leather for 6 seconds enough?  I suppose it is if you have not done anything for decades.  The variables of intensity, duration, and frequency of demanding exercise required to produce a positive change will vary among individuals, but it is important to note that the right amount of proper exercise that will produce positive changes will not require long hours in the gym.  Our fitness trainers at Austin TX Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Trainers can guide you through an effective high intensity strength training program that will take less than an hour a week, and it will transform your life.

Strength Training To Prevent Falls

When my father was getting up in age he had a couple of nasty falls, once breaking a rib and once banging his head pretty badly.  My father became forgetful.  An MRI revealed that there was damage to his brain.  The doctors speculated that it was most likely a result of a fall.

As people age they lose strength and with that gait speed and that results in a loss of balance.  With the loss of strength they lose the ability to recover from a stumble.  Falls inevitably occur, and those that do fall who are frail are more likely to suffer injuries as result of that fall.

Falling is the 14th leading cause of death among the elderly.

Each year, more than one-third of Americans over 65 sustain falls, total cost of fall injuries for people 65 and older was $20.2 billion in 1994, and that is expected to reach $32.4 billion by 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As people age they lose as much as half of their fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers control quick movements and responsible for most of our strength.  That decline can be reversed with high intensity weight training.

There is plenty of documentation out there making the case for strength training for the elderly.  One study conducted with 90 year olds,  High-intensity strength training in nonagenarians. Effects on skeletal muscleproduced the following result:

Strength gains averaged 174% +/- 31% (mean +/- SEM)… Mean tandem gait speed improved 48% after training. We conclude that high-resistance weight training leads to significant gains in muscle strength, size, and functional mobility among frail residents of nursing homes up to 96 years of age

Of all the people who stand to gain by strength training the elderly stand to benefit most.  It is important not only for the increased quality of life strength can bring but to avoid the consequences of weakness – falls, injuries, sickness, and death. These strength increases don’t require hours in the gym; do just enough to cause a change, then come back and do it again in a week. 

Is it worth your time and effort to avoid the infirmities of age? The personal trainers at Austin Fitness Training and New Orleans Fitness Training are convinced it is.