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Seniors blog

Seniors and Fitness: Enhancing your PHR
Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Leann Reynolds

Vashon Athletic Club owner Kevin Allman, of Vashon, Wash., spends a majority of his time at the gym training senior citizens, which make up an healthy 30-40 percent of his clientele. Located on an island with a population of just over 10,000 residents and a median age range of 44 years old (Seattle’s median age range is 34), Vashon’s demographics have contributed to Allman becoming somewhat of an authority in training seniors.

“I really think that seniors can benefit the most from exercise because the lack of strength and stamina tends to be most pronounced in that age group,” he says. “Once a program is started, seniors typically see a dramatic improvement in their quality of life as a result, which in turn enhances their personal health record (PHR).”

Aside from just the physical benefits, exercise can also benefit seniors experiencing cognitive issues. A 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a six-month program of physical activity provided a modest level of improvement in memory related issues, and these results were consistent throughout the 18-month follow-up period.

Often, getting started with exercise seems like a daunting task, especially for those without past fitness experience. Fortunately, fitness trainers like Allman are available for hire at most local gyms and YMCAs, and it’s their jobs to help clients find the motivation to get off the couch and into the gym, while at the same time not feeling intimidated.

One of the easiest ways to get started is in a group setting. Vashon Athletic Club, like many gyms, features Senior Water Walking and Aqua Aerobics, both of which attract sizeable attendance. 

“Water Fitness is great,” says Allman. “It is gentle and low impact on the joints, and some of our clients with serious physical impairments—those that can’t effectively use any land base modes of exercise—can walk in the pool.”

According to Allman, water resistance improves strength modestly, is effective for cardiovascular fitness, and provides a mental peace of mind not found in other forms of exercise.

Enhancing one’s PHR through physical fitness and exercise can have numerous benefits, ultimately leading to improved healthcare services and treatment for those who keep them updated and accurate. Medical records may, or may not keep up with life changes and improvements, whereas a PHR reflects health improvements and lifestyle changes. It is essential information, and it is up to the individual, or their caregiver, to maintain it.

About the Family CareGiver Blog: The Family CareGiver Blog is written by caregivers, for caregivers. Inspired and supported by Homewatch CareGivers’ President Leann Reynolds, the Homewatch CareGivers blog brings over 30 years of caregiving experience to its readers. Reynolds’ father, Paul Sauer, founded Homewatch CareGivers, which means Leann has spent her entire life in and around the caregiving business. 

Reynolds’ goal with her blog is to offer fresh content, news and helpful research to its readers. Each week her team discovers inspirational caregiving stories. The Homewatch CareGivers blog gives Leann and her fellow caregivers a platform to bring some of these stories to light.

Tags   personalhealthrecord, phr, medicalrecords, caregivers, seniors

About This Blog

PHRs are still fairly new to the healthcare system, and we understand that as healthcare consumers, you have questions about the benefits and risks of keeping a PHR. For this reason, we provide a communication forum – the Seniors’ Blog – to connect you with health information management professionals for tips and advice on creating and maintaining your own PHR. This section of also provides resources and educational material about PHRs to answer some of your questions and help you determine if a PHR is right for you.

Blog Contributors

Marsha Dolan, Valerie Watzlaf, Cindy Boester, Heidi Shaffer, Julie Wolter, Margaret Hennings, Colleen Goethals, Vera Rulon, Leah Grebner, Robert Caban, Mynilma Olivera-Vazquez, Amanda Bushey, Margie Kelly, Donna DuLong, Sarah Dietze, Valisha McFarlane, Maria Kovell, Ted Eytan, Leann Reynolds, Laura Heuer, Kristin Stewart, Derek Allen, Chris Matthies, Margo Corbett, Craig Newmark, Sarah Buelterman, Skyler Tanner, Aniruddha Malpani, Joan Malling, Marilyn McFarlane, Megan Rooney, Patrick Rhone, Dr. Carrie Nelson, Maria Bouselli, Erin Jordan


PHRs do more than manage medication. Stay up to date with information that can help you communicate with your doctor and stay out of the hospital.

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