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Geri-Fit Blog

January 10, 2017 - Long term Geri-Fit Survey Results Released

According to a recent survey of long-term implementations of the Geri-Fit® program, 76% of the participants enrolled had an overall improvement in their strength. 45% saw an improvement in their balance.

 

70% were enrolled in Geri-Fit® for over one year. 48% were enrolled for over 3 years. 81% of the participants were between the ages of 65-90. The oldest participant was 96 and the youngest participant was 63. The average age of all participants was 75 years old.

 

The survey was conducted in November 2016 at three Ohio senior centers where the Geri-Fit® program has been in place for an average of 15 years. 60 participants in the program answered questions about their strength, balance, and the length of time they have been taking Geri-Fit®.
 
The survey results clearly show that Geri-Fit® is a top tier evidence-based health promotion program that continues to provide participants with long-term measurable health benefits.

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December 17, 2016 - If you want to live long, you've got to be strong!  Read on...

 

New Study Suggests Strength Training and Balance Exercises for Older Adults

 

 

According to a recent study conducted by the National Research Council of Canada, older adults should combine aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and balance training to ward off frailty and maintain independence.  Of particular importance was resistance training and balance activities which was emphasized to reverse frailty, preserve quality of life, and restore independent functioning in older adults.

 

Similar long term findings were reported by three Ohio senior centers where the Geri-Fit® evidence-based health promotion program has been offered for more than 10 years.  The long term effects of the program were logged and, of the 60 survey participants, 76% said they have seen an improvement in their strength, and 45% said they have seen an improvement in their balance.

 

Geri-Fit® is a twice-weekly, 45-minute evidence-based strength training workout for older adults.  The program requires small dumbbell weights ranging in weight from 2 to 10 pounds depending on the person’s fitness level and degree of exercise difficulty. Most of the bodybuilding exercises are performed seated in chairs making it an ideal activity for those that are prone to falling or are mobility disadvantaged. Participants from ages 60 to 99 join in twice-a-week and perform 20-30 different sets of resistance exercises using dumbbells in addition to balance training and stretches for improved range of motion.

 

Classes are held at senior centers, YMCAs, JCCs, senior living communities, gyms and health clubs throughout the U.S.  For more information, contact the Geri-Fit Company at 1-888-GERI-FIT or visit gerifit.com.

 

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In our new Fall Prevention series, we'll discuss how strength and balance exercises can greatly decrease your chances of falling down. 

August 12, 2016 --

Things You Can Do to Help Decrease Your Chance of Falls

We keep hearing about it all the time… falls, falls, falls! But, with one person dyeing every 19 minutes, it is a cause for concern, especially since there are 9 million falls per year and 2.5M falls in the over the age of 65 category. But, there is so much you can do to help fall proof your home to hopefully not become a statistic. Try these tips:

Keep phones in more rooms. That way, you won’t be rushing to answer the phone and perhaps accidentally slip while running to get to the phone.

Ditch footstools, throw rugs, carpeting with edging you could trip on, and other obstacles that you might not see in your path.

Buy more night lights and solar lights if you like to go outside at night. Illuminated foot paths help aging eyes to see better at night.

Avoid wearing acrylic socks if you have natural stone floors, laminate, wood floors or other semi-slippery flooring. These cushy soft socks can easily cause you to slide out of control and fall. Only wear cotton socks or socks with rubber grippers on the bottom. Wear shoes when indoors. Wearing slippers without good support is not a good idea, especially the fluffy kind.

Avoid wearing flip flops or other types of shoes where you could catch the side or toe of the shoe. There are a variety of sturdy (not cumbersome) walking and casual tennis shoes that are lightweight, comfortable and safe to wear.

Don’t step on wet surfaces, no matter how safe it may look. Put a towel down or bypass the area until it is completely dry.

Don’t try to do two things at once. It might have been a great idea to multi-task when you were younger, but you don’t have to do it anymore now that you’re older! J Concentrate on what you’re doing and focus your mind to get the task done. Work slowly and cautiously; avoid risks like getting on a ladder or reaching too high on a step stool.

Install grab bars for safety. No, they’re not a sign of old age. They are smart safety! These handy assists can be a lifesaver if you’re alone and need help. There are also tax credits available for this type of home improvement.

Hire a Fall Prevention Specialist to get a home assessment to help make your home fall proof. Your insurance may also cover an Annual Wellness Visit which is usually performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. In addition to testing your speed, agility and strength, he/she may recommend that you enroll in a falls prevention program to lessen your risk of falls.

Get your balance tested yearly or get your baseline done now so that you have something to compare to later when you’re in your 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Find a physician that is offering this type of service or one that carries a postural sway measurement device like BTrackS™. If your balance is declining, consider doing some type of strength training workout in order to build back muscle that’s been lost through the aging process. Some evidence-based programs to consider are Geri-Fit®, Fit&Strong!, and Enhance Fitness.

Walking still remains the number one form of exercise for older adults. Consider joining a walking club or walk with friends in a safe area. And remember, walking is not enough; you also need to include some strength training in order to remain strong, healthy and independent. Make exercise a regular habit, just like brushing your teeth.

April 24, 2016 --

New Balance Testing Device May Help Determine Fall Likelihood

A new system, which tests balance in less than three minutes, could make a huge impact in the senior health and fitness industry. Studies conducted at San Diego State University in San Diego California were recently published in the April 2016 issue of The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. A group of 519 athletes were used in the study and all were tested pre-season. Later on during the sports season, 25 experienced a concussion, and 16 of the 25 had balance declines which were picked up by the balance testing software.

Daniel Goble, Ph.D., inventor of the BTrackS System and founder of Balance Tracking Systems Inc., saw the magnitude of how his portable balance system could benefit the sports world by determining if athletes were experiencing balance deficit symptoms after a concussion. But now, this same test can be used by older adults worldwide as a possible fall prevention screening tool. This could turn out to be a big help to administrators of active adult and retirement communities, assisted living, nursing homes, and continuing care facilities. Having a resident undergo a balance test early on could provide a good basis as to whether or not the resident should participate in an evidence-based balance training and/or strength training program.

The test is rather simple…. you step on the BTrackS Balance Plate that looks similar to a bathroom scale, you stand there and perform three, 20 second tests with your eyes closed. You try to move/sway as little as possible – you try to stand as still as possible. The sensors embedded in the balance plate measure your postural sway and record the results in the Better Balance Software Application that is running on a laptop computer or tablet which is connected to the balance plate. The test results are then averaged out and you’re given your “test result” which ranges from 10 to over 100. The number represents how many centimeters you swayed while on the balance plate. The lower the number, the less postural sway.

The result can also be compared against a chart that shows how other people in your age group have done. In general, for adults older than 50, a test result of 40 or above indicates that you are swaying more than most other people in your age group and you may need to work on improving your balance in order to prevent possible falls in the future. Dr. Goble recommends that older adults should have their balance tested on yearly basis.

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March 20, 2016 --

Many older adults are under the impression that just walking and doing upper body exercises are enough to keep them strong and healthy well into their golden years. However, it’s the muscles in our lower body that need strength training the most....read more about how Proprioceptive Training can enhance your balance and gait.

Sept. 26, 2015 --

Why you shouldn’t close your eyes when doing balance exercises

Balance exercises are great for improving gait and functional capacity, however, as often inaccurately prescribed, they should not be done with the eyes closed. When the eyes are closed, an increase in balance instability can occur, especially for those that are already inflicted by vertigo. Instead, always hold onto something while keeping your eyes open and wean yourself little by little by letting go of the supporting structure (a chair, table or countertop) one finger at a time.

In this balance exercise, the front of the feet (extensor tendons), as well as the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), are engaged to help increase balance.

Individual Instructor Licensing for GeriFit

1. Stand behind a chair.

2. Position the feet shoulder width apart and point the toes either straight ahead or slightly outwards.

3. Rise up on the balls of the feet holding the contraction momentarily before returning to the starting position.

4. Repeat 10 times.

5. On the 10th repetition, hold the “up” position for a count of 10.

6. Upon completion of the 10th hold, let the fingers lose contact with the chair one finger at a time starting with the little finger, the ring finger, then the middle finger, then the index finger, then release the hands from the back of the chair but keep them hovered above the back of the chair so that, in case you get wobbly or start to lose your balance, you will have something to hold onto immediately.

Tips:

  • Keep the legs straight but not locked.
  • Try not to rock back and forth.
  • Always hold onto a chair or wall for support when performing this exercise.
  • Never do exercises with your eyes closed. Think safety first!
  • If it is suggested by your doctor that you do this exercise with your eyes closed in order to help with vestibular balance, have someone stand behind you at all times.