Understanding the aging population is essential in order to create a workout that is safe, effective, and functional, yet is still fun and motivating. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the goal of an exercise program for older individuals is “maintenance of functional capacity for independent living, reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, retardation of the progression of chronic diseases, promotion of psychological well-being and provision of opportunities for social interaction” (ASCM, 2000).
The goals of an older adult may differ from the goals of younger adults. Many older adults may use exercise as a way to improve or maintain their daily functioning and help them to stay independent (Buchner & Wagner, 1992). For example, a certain level of stamina is required to stand and prepare a meal, wash windows, or vacuum the house. A certain level of shoulder mobility is required in order to be able to dress/undress oneself, and do other personal hygienic activities such as washing and combing hair. A certain level of strength is required to carry a heavy suitcase to the car and lift it into the trunk if you are planning to take a trip.
While individual class goals may vary, here are a few Golden Beats Standard Goals:
- Provide a well-rounded program that is based on improving participants’ overall health status both physically and mentally.
- Provide a group fitness experience that increases the participants’ sense of well-being.
- Provide a low/non-impact, fun activity for older adults to increase motivation, perseverance and compliance.
- Create a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment where every participant will be successful and eager to return.
- Help participants understand why exercise is important for both physical and mental health.
- Support and reward participation.
- Provide a basis for lifestyle changes, and encourage participants to engage in a lifetime of physical activity.
- Provide activities to help improve cardiovascular and muscular fitness as well as skills to improve balance and coordination which helps minimize the effects of aging.
- Implement activities and skills to help improve neurological health.
- Engage participants through cognitive application and discover the mystery behind drumming, movement, and brain research.
- Encourage participants’ joy as they access their creative powers.
- Explore relationships through kinesthetic, vestibular, and auditory experience.
- Create social ties and involvement both physically and mentally.
- Provide a movement and rhythm environment that is more process- rather than product-oriented.