When do you sit and when do you stand?

How do you know if the fitness level of the participant is high enough to be in your class? Who should be sitting? How much should we stand in a 45 minute class? These are all common questions and concerns when teaching Drums Alive® Golden Beats classes.

Did they walk into your class? If they did, then you need to ensure that a significant portion of the class is done standing.

Do we have to use chairs? Not necessarily. This depends on the frailty level in your classes.

The SilverSneakers™ Fitness Program recommends that their participants get out of their chairs at least 3 times during a class. That is a good guideline to use in Golden Beats classes as well. For instance, you may start them standing for the warm-up, sit down for a drumming track, stand up to work on balance, sit down for another drumming track, and stand up at the end for some nice deep breathing.

Guidelines for seated portions of the class

  • Do not use folding chairs as this increases the participant’s risk for an accident/injury.
  • Use only a straight back, armless chair (arms restricts all upper body movements).
  • Participants should wear good tennis shoes that provide support for the feet.
  • A seated class may be the only safe way for a frail older adult to engage in physical activity. This is preferable to not exercising at all.
  • A seated class will be beneficial for a frail population because the chair provides support while the participant is working to improve mobility and build up endurance.
  • HOWEVER – please keep in mind that training in a chair should be done for a good reason. Standing exercises and weight bearing activities are generally more effective than seated activities.
  • Seated does not mean easy. Marching can actually be more difficult seated than it is standing up!
  • ALWAYS encourage great posture when seated. Give reminders often to “check your posture”. Good posture means – keeping back straight, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed and down, and chin slightly tucked, eyes straight ahead.
  • Ask your participants to scoot themselves to the front of the chair so that their core muscles are engaged throughout the workout. It is also easier to do the feet/leg movements when they are sitting forward on their chair. (See the Drums Alive® – Sitting to Standing DVD+CD)

Guidelines for the standing portion of the class

Before beginning a standing program, make sure you understand the exercise guidelines set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine on exercise for older adults. Also, make sure that you fully understand the guidelines set forth by Drums Alive® (see the Drums Alive® Basic Instructor manual or the Drums Alive® Basic Instructor Online Home Study Course).

Two very important issues when teaching a standing Golden Beats class for older adults are balance and how balance is affected.

  • Utilize supportive and non-slippery shoes; however, when working on proprioceptive exercises there may be moments where “barefoot“ training is applicable. In this case safety is always a factor. Please follow the guidelines for barefoot training.
  • Give the client more time to process information cognitively while giving the body time to adapt and react. Reaction time is longer in aging adults – this is especially true in the standing portion of the Golden Beats program.
  • Work from the feet to the head. Starting at the feet will provide the proper foundation and preparation for more of the skills required throughout the program.
  • Progress linearly to laterally to multidirectional.
  • Utilize movement that represents daily functional patterns as well as sport activities.
  • Perform inter- and intramuscular coordination, strength, and ROM skills to help prepare the body and mind for the activities that will be introduced throughout the program.
  • Introduce partial movement and rhythmical patterns or combinations that will be used later.
  • Emphasize good training techniques.
  • Mimic movements or drumming speed.
  • Perform movements / patterns slowly before bringing either the movement or drumming patters up to speed.
  • Use caution when making directional, level, or dynamical changes.
  • Turns or quick feet should be avoided and only given as a modification for those that do not have physical issues.
  • Monitor Heart Rate: Be aware that the euphoric effects of drumming can often cause the participants to work too hard, therefore monitoring the heart rate and if possible blood pressure is recommended throughout the workout. (Follow the rules set forth by the ACSM – Recovery Heart Rate.) Utilize various exercises in between to help with recovery rate:
    • Balance Activities, Coordination, Proprioception
    • Strength, Back and Abdominal
    • Low intensity exercises
  • As individuals age the time for general recovery from training may increase and participants may need to increase the number of days off between workouts.
  • Provide novelty – utilize periodization to manipulate the changes in intensity, volume, intensity, and complexity.
  • Add unexpected stops in the choreography to challenge balance and proprioception.
  • Practice safety when utilizing the ball for strength or stretching work on the ball. Make sure that participants are able to sit or lay on the ball without falling off before beginning exercises in these positions. Balance may be an issue here. (Follow the safety rules of an accredited ball exercise program.)