ABLE Bodies Balance Training offers an activity-based program to improve balance and mobility for both fit and frail older adults. This practical instructor’s guide provides more than 130 balance and mobility exercises that consider flexibility, strength, and cardiorespiratory endurance. The exercises enhance older adults’ abilities to maintain balance in completing their everyday tasks, thereby fostering increased self-confidence, reducing the occurrence of falls, and improving quality of life.
The text is based on ABLE Bodies techniques, which were proven effective in a randomized, controlled study funded by the National Blueprint and Active Aging Partnership. Results showed that ABLE Bodies training significantly improved balance, mobility, activity levels, gait speed, flexibility, and strength for participants 70 years of age and older living in retirement and assisted living facilities.
ABLE Bodies Balance Training uses current research and a component-based approach to balance training. Instructors are encouraged to use activities covering all five components of the program: flexibility, posture and core stability, strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, and balance and mobility. The exercises and activities are easily implemented with the use of existing facilities and inexpensive equipment. They also encourage fun and social interaction, helping instructors to create and maintain an energized and positive environment that improves communication, motivation, and overall progress. The program may be used in group or individual settings and can be customized according to level of experience:
Beginning instructors can follow the 16-week session plan as a well-balanced training program that safely progress older adults through the exercises. The material is complete and may extend to a yearlong program.
More experienced instructors may select exercises and activities from each of the five component categories to meet the individual needs of their older adult clients. The component-based organization of the text allows instructors to easily incorporate both exercises and conceptual ideas in fun, engaging, and creative ways into their existing programs.
As a bonus, access to a dedicted ABLE Bodies Balance Training Web site is included with the book. It offers 15 downloadable activity handouts that instructors can print out and distribute to patients or clients for use at home. It also offers downloadable handouts of all the balance training activities in the book—over 130 conceptual ideas and activities to choose from either for planning their own sessions or for aiding their delivery of the 16-week session plan. The text also offers a variety of tools, including step-by-step instructions, sample phrasing to use when encouraging participants, ideas on making activities progressively more difficult, and tips on promoting safety while performing the exercises.
The proven exercises and conceptual activities found in ABLE Bodies Balance Training offer both fit and frail seniors increased independence in daily living. By incorporating the ABLE Bodies Balance Training program into their work, fitness and health care professionals will educate and motivate older adults to increase stability and improve self-confidence and health.
About the Author
Sue Scott, MS, is an exercise consultant, balance specialist, and active living consultant. In her work with older adults and through her fitness company, Renewable Fitness, Scott focuses on bettering the health and well-being of seniors, particularly frail older adults.
Scott has over 10 years of experience working exclusively with seniors and fitness. She has worked in fitness as an educator, researcher, consultant, and personal trainer since 1986. W.I.T.S. Faculty member for 6 years. She is certified as an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) health and fitness instructor and an International Dance Exercise Association(IDEA) master trainer.