In-Home and in Shape

Options for getting fit without leaving the house

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Fact checked by Derick Wilder

 

There are plenty of challenges to getting, and staying, fit: Not enough time. Lack of gym access. Illness. Some seniors face additional obstacles that can create even more of a barrier. This is one reason in-home fitness trainers and online fitness classes have increased in popularity. Here’s a closer look at in-home exercise options and how they’re meeting people’s fitness needs.

Many seniors simply want to age better, and maintain their health and physical abilities as they grow older. Others may be dealing with health issues, injuries, or the gradual loss of flexibility and strength that occurs with age.

Jim Crowder, owner of EverFit Senior Fitness in Wilmette, is a former financial trader who launched a new career in 2018 helping prepare older people for healthier retirements.

Senior fitness infographic“I saw there was a lot of need in the elderly community,” says Crowder, now certified as a personal trainer, senior fitness specialist, and post-rehab specialist through the International Sports Sciences Association. “I’ve worked with people who have had stage-4 cancer, dementia, stroke, and post-surgery rehab, as well as people who have had falls.”

In-home training advantages

In-home training, whether over the computer or with an in-person trainer, offers many advantages.

“You don’t have to travel if you have a physical impairment,” Crowder says, adding, “There’s less time involved, and you can have someone come to you. You can work out in the comfort of your home.”

Your trainer can help ensure that you exercise safely, with good form to reduce your risk of injury. And many seniors may prefer working out in a private environment as opposed to a crowded gym.

While Crowder is not a physical therapist, he often works closely with them to help clients as they recover from surgery or injury. In addition to strength training, he works on balance exercises and fall prevention with his clients, ages 60 and up.

 

“As we get older, that’s the time to work out. You can help prevent all the things that can catch up to you.”

 

Rates for in-home trainers vary; Crowder’s rates start at $100 an hour, and increase if he needs to travel for the session. He brings all the necessary fitness equipment, customized to individual clients, to each appointment.  

Online fitness classes

People have another option in online classes geared toward seniors. The National Institute on Aging offers a YouTube channel with more than 400 video classes for seniors. You can find other workout classes on YouTube and on cable channels — just look for classes specifically designed for a senior audience. If you’re working out to a video, pay attention to your body. A little discomfort is okay; pain or extreme discomfort is not.

Whether you choose to exercise at home, outside, or at a health club, Crowder encourages people to make exercise part of their day. “Just keep moving,” he says. “As we get older, that’s the time to work out. You can help prevent all the things that can catch up to you.”


Originally published in the Summer/Fall 2024 print issue