Trainer Graham Lamb goes over the Senior Fitness Test with Eric and Liz Fraikin at Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

Fitness testing assesses strength, flexibility

Recreation Oak Bay offers fitness testing to seniors



Settled into the busy Sportsview Lounge, Liz and Eric Fraikin go over physical activity readiness forms with trainer Graham Lamb.

Lamb offers them take-away information on fitness of older adults and outlines the testing process that will measure strength, flexibility and agility.

“It gives you a benchmark today,” Lamb says.

A second set of documents clarifies a bit of medical history, for example any joint replacement.

“I want to know that because I don’t want to put you at risk of any further injury,” Lamb says.

The standardized Senior Fitness Tests through Recreation Oak Bay include a chair stand; arm curl; two-minute step; chair sit-and-reach; back scratch; and the eight foot up-and-go, all timed.

Lamb’s forms include areas for him to record posture notes, recommendations and proposed follow-up testing dates.

“Seniors often use this test when they are looking to highlight areas of limitations to aid in program recommendation and suggested exercise prescription,” said programmer Megan Larsen. “We sometimes get seniors asking for it that are referred by a physiotherapist or the hospital.”

Eric and Liz see it as a first step in maintaining health as they age.

“We realized we’re losing out strength,” Liz said. “We’re both noticing losing strength in our arms and legs.”

“To the point where I may have to abandon downhill skiing,” Eric added.

Liz is looking for suggested exercises to build on strength and flexibility, which would be a next step after the testing foundation.

Eric hopes to gain strength in this legs, to avoid having to give up his beloved sport.

“It’s coming fast, way faster than we thought,” Liz said. “We thought this is the time to get assessed and get a program.”

The Senior Fitness Test is a set of exercises designed for adults between the ages of 60 and 94. These tests and results score the functional fitness of adults and provides a baseline and understanding of current strength and flexibility.

“It provides a personal trainer like myself an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of an individual and what that individual can and should do to improve their functional strength,” Lamb said. “Strength training is also a valuable tool to help prevent falls.”

Lamb offers a specialized fall prevention classes through Recreation Oak Bay.

“I regularly see people of all ages out walking, running and riding their bicycle. That’s good news. However, there is also bad news – WINE, walking is not enough,” said Lamb. “At the age of 50, we start to lose from one to two per cent of our muscle mass and function. At age 60 it can be as much as three per cent per year. This is known as sarcopenia. Muscle mass starts to decline even at the young age of 30 at a rate of half to one per cent.”

The Senior Fitness Test runs about an hour and costs $63 through Recreation Oak Bay. Register at the centre at 1975 Bee St.

“We offer the seniors fitness test at Oak Bay Rec for people that are 50-plus, kind of in the senior part of their life,” Larsen said.

“The goal of that is for them to assess their body’s needs and find out limitations. It gives them a really good general outline and general guideline of maybe some of their strengths and weaknesses and what they can work on in the future in order to go through their senior years stronger and maybe a little bit more pain-free.”

 

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