Exercise program offers insight to others

Amadeus Smith

Rather than just applying CPR techniques and learning how to operate a defibrillator, students enrolled in the Exercise Program for the Older Adult will also be given the opportunity to place themselves in the shoes of an older adult.

Changes were made to the curriculum after the class became mandatory for exercise specialist students in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sports.

The Exercise Program for the Older Adult class has been providing senior citizens with carefully crafted workouts and students with in-field experience for roughly 15 years.

“We’re trying to have the students gain some perspective about how the older adult feels,” said doctorate student Judi Juvancic-Heltzel. “And, with the older adults, we want to start kicking up the heart-rate in the warm-ups.”

The students attempted to exercise and perform daily functions with macaroni in their shoes. Juvancic-Heltzel said the macaroni gave the students a feeling that mimicked arthritis. Students also wore goggles covered in Vaseline to blur vision, cotton balls in their ears to muffle hearing and Thera-bands -elastic bands used to stretch and strength train -ÿ around their legs to reduce stride length.

Doctorate student Edward Ryan was involved in a geriatric home and an adult exercise program while attending Indiana University in Pennsylvania. He said the drill was fun, but it produced complications.

“The goggles and the blurred vision gave me a really bad headache,” said Ryan, who noted the seriousness of an older adult’s limitations.

Gaining perspective, of course, is only a part of the class. Juvancic-Heltzel, along with others, is developing new exercise routines and activities to keep the program effective and exciting. She said that adding activities like badminton, relay races and even line-dancing has made the workouts fun.

The department also plans to arrange workout equipment for routine circuit training, so an older adult can keep his or her heart rate up while strength training.

Along with the circuit training and fun activities, students work with the older adults and advisers to develop exercise routines for those with special needs – such as adults with arthritis or hearing difficulties, which Juvancic-Heltzel said can affect balance.

Exercise science professor Ellen Glickman said exercise needs to occur outside of the class as well.

“We’re constantly aging, and as we get to that age we need to eat less and do more,” Glickman said.

To aid the adults in their dependent exercise, the college will hold lectures geared toward older adult health. The first lecture, scheduled for Sept. 29, will discuss the benefits of exercise.

Exercise Program for the Older Adult will hold its first exercise class Monday. The class regularly occurs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, with the first hour dedicated to student lectures and the second, to the actual adult exercise class.

Contact School of Exercise, Leisure and Sports reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].