Clients in special population groups are required to supply me with a written physician’s clearance. I am not a doctor and (in most cases) and not a physical therapist. As part of a team with other professionals, however, I can contribute significantly and uniquely to helping you improve your health and life through a monitored and challenging fitness program. While it is necessary to take your condition or position into account, I will not to treat you as a “sick person” a “patient” or an “older person”. You will be pushed and you will be motivated. It is essential, however, for me to coordinate your training and nutritional program and with your doctor, physiatrist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, chiropractor, special nutritional counselor, and/or alternative medicine healthcare provider(s). It’s particularly important for me to know if you have any conditions for which exercise, or a particular type of exercise, is contraindicated.
As we age, the changes in our levels of hormones, enzymes, cellular function, and other important biochemical functions, lead to a variety of physiological changes. These include: decline in lean muscle mass, bone density, flexibility, oxygen consumption, metabolism, cognitive function, proprioception, balance, agility, and response mechanism. At the same time body fat and free radical levels increase. Of course, we know that we also develop diminished eyesight and hearing, our hair turns grey or white and our skin wrinkles. Eyeglasses, contacts lenses and now laser surgery helps to correct vision and hearing aids amplify sounds for us. As recently as a decade ago the broad population had no idea that we could slow down and in some cases reverse some of the other physical conditions associated with aging. Clinical studies, most particularly the landmark one carried out by Tufts University, as well as anecdotal evidence all prove that resistance training, coupled with aerobic activity and high protein healthy diets were able to add muscle, lower fat, speed up metabolism and increase bone density, oxygen consumption, flexibility, cognitive function, balance and agility. I have a good deal of experience working with older populations.
Pre-Natal and Post-Partum Women
Fitness, proper nutrition and clean living (no alcohol, smoking, or drugs) are essential for a healthy pregnancy and hardy baby. Unless instructed otherwise by her physician, a woman can exercise up to the eighth month. After the birth of the baby, an exercise program can commence almost immediately.
People with HIV/AIDS and Cancer
People with HIV experience a wasting of lean muscle mass, a commensurate loss of bone density and reduced strength, endurance and aerobic capacity. A balanced resistance, cardiovascular and nutritional program can retard, and in some cases prevent, these deteriorating processes. While there exists no evidence that a fitness program will boost the immune system in people with HIV or AIDS, the enrichment in quality of life is extensive – physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The same is the case relative to people living with and fighting cancer. The physical problems encountered depend upon the type of cancer, how advanced it may be, the relative fitness level of the person and whether he or she is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Some people with cancer use hard training in their pain management protocols. This is not to suggest that fitness training has been proven to ameliorate pain in cancer sufferers. Most of this evidence is anecdotal and is most likely stems from psychological as much as physiological inducements.
Heart attacks are the major cause of death in the United States. Many years ago a cardiac patient was confined to bed and doctor’s insisted on complete inactivity. Now cardiologists are getting post heart trauma patients onto a stationary bike or treadmill as soon as they can stand. All cardiac rehab programs include exercises designed strengthen the heart muscle and increase oxygen consumption and beneficial HDL cholesterol. These protocols have been clinically studied and shown to reduce the occurrence of a second heart attack.
Among a complexity of health problems brought about by kidney disease or renal failure are the inability of sufferers to metabolize protein and the affliction osteodystrophy, a condition similar to osteoporosis. Protein is essential for the body to repair tissue, particularly muscle. Renal patients are put on extremely low protein diets and suffer a wasting effect as well as other health and fitness deficits. Osteodystrophy is the result of the parathyroid glad becoming overactive in the face of renal failure and calcium is leached out of the bones. This condition affects dialysis patients most profoundly. When a dialysis patient embarks upon a weight training regimen, he or she is able to consume greater quantities of protein because the muscle tissue is utilizing it and it does not have to be processed through the kidney. Furthermore resistance training causes an increase in bone density in the same way it does for osteoporosis sufferers. Renal and dialysis patients who fitness train are able to live healthier and more normal lives. It is very important for renal patients to proceed very slowly when starting and increasing workout intensities.
Exercise is essential for people with diabetes. A regular program of cardiovascular training and light-moderate weight training can improve the body’s response to insulin, help control glucose levels in the blood, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower body fat, cholesterol levels, blood pressure. It is important that diabetics sustain a regular program in order to get the benefits listed.
High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
High blood pressure forces the heart to work abnormally hard. This makes the heart and circulatory system vulnerable to damage, resulting from the heart’s need to pump harder to deliver adequate blood and oxygen to the body. As a result, heart enlarges and weakens. Often high blood pressure is the result of plaque having built up in the arteries which comes from high LDL and triglycerides in the circulatory system. The ensuing elevated blood pressure in turn wreck havoc on the arteries which become scarred, hard and lose elasticity. The risk of heart attack is increased, as is the possibility of stroke, congestive heart failure, renal failure, and atherosclerosis. Studies find that most obese people suffer from hypertension. This population is particularly as risk for heart attack and CVA (stroke). Exercise, particularly cardiovascular performance can greatly reduce high blood pressure especially by increasing the body’s natural oxygen consumption, elevated HDLs (the good cholesterol) which helps keep the arteries clean of plaque. Regular, sustained aerobic conditioning lowers heart rate and blood pressure in most people.