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The title is a bit off I know, but I am old myself.

As well as classes for younger people (splits and deep backbends for aerialists, dancers etc) I have a regular ST class which is now populated by people in their 60s to late 70s (the oldest in fact has enviable flexibility, having done yoga all her life). But they include quite a range of people – some are like her, others are working round arthritis, the after-effects of cancer treatment, and more. My ST class as well as including standard ST exercises is intended to address some of the issues that people come with. I have found the following (some of which are probably primary, others secondary):

1. Lack of agility in simple movements.
2. Inefficient patterns of movement (in e.g. getting up off the floor).
3. Lack of confidence in simple movements.
4. General tightness –probably muscular as well as connective tissue including fascia.
5. Anterior dominance including weak and tight posterior muscles.
6. Poor core strength and core reflexivity.
7. Poor posture – excessive lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, head-forward posture.
8. Poor balance.
9. Poor body awareness.
10. Lack of strength.

Some accept this because “this is what happens when you get old”. However I try to educate them that many things are possible as you get older, though you may have to try harder than a young person would. Because my classes include exercises for dealing with all of the above, the regular members now all have good function in these areas, unless held back by injury. My hope now is that they go home and educate their spouses (I also have a two-for-one offer to encourage spouses, though it is rarely taken up). The regular students obviously like it, having been coming to me for years. The rapid improvement shown by new members is heartening.

I know one response could be “just do the standard ST program” and this is what I try to adhere to closely, but with a flavour to deal with the above issues as well. Some of the core exercises are drawn from Pilates, and the balances are various one-foot balances. I would like to introduce some more dynamic balances with e.g. wobble boards but do not think it would be safe with this group in the spaces I have, where there is nothing to grab onto if falling. To catch yourself when actually in the process of falling, I think you need rapid reflexes, and these need practice, though unfortunately they don’t get it in my class.

I wonder if anyone else has experience with this age group, and whether they look out for other things too, and any comments on my program and approach.

Jim.

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12 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

The title is a bit off I know, but I am old myself.

Hahahaha! We are all getting older.

12 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

I know one response could be “just do the standard ST program” and this is what I try to adhere to closely, but with a flavour to deal with the above issues as well.

The "standard ST" program is, literally, whatever's needed by any individual, and the group as a whole, so there really isn't any set syllabus. Do you remember the articles I wrote about the "Over 40's class", which became the "Over 50s" years ago? It was my observations re. symmetry of function in the tighter and looser groups (and the correlation between asymmetry and neck/back pain in both groups) that led to the current approach of working on asymmetry in the absence of other causes. All this is in the later chapters of Overcome neck & back pain.

The ten points you note we had been seeing more and more in the younger folk coming through, too. @oliviaa may have additional comments.

The content of any syllabus that's to be enjoyable and effective has to connect with the audience. In the over 40s classes, I used a liberal sprinkling of the first five exercises from Overcome neck & back pain, too, for just these reasons, and the odd all-chair-based class.

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Thanks for the reminder about asymmetry. It is one thing I look for, but maybe not closely enough. I will keep a stronger eye on it.

16 hours ago, Jim Pickles said:

The title is a bit off I know, but I am old myself.

>Hahahaha! We are all getting older.

  Some of us have a head start though....

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