T Nation

Help For My Parents?


#1

My parents are finally starting to show some interest in working out, and I'd like to help them with it. They've both been sedentary for over 10 years, so I'm not exactly sure where to start. I'm currently looking through the beginners thread for some ideas, but I'm curious if anyone older has thoughts on how to go about starting a training plan.

A rough idea of their backgrounds--

My mom has been overweight for a while but has lost over 40# in the past 5 months through what sounds like pretty good nutrition (I gave her the 7 Habits article and she used that as a starting point.) Now that she feels better she wants to start looking better, too. When she was my age she was naturally very thin (I didn't get those genes!) and never did any weight training or much cardio. She's very physically active (housework, taking care of her father, etc.), so injuries shouldn't be a huge factor for her.

My dad is still quite overweight, though my Mom has had an effect on him and he's started eating better and losing some weight as well. A long time ago he used to lift, but I'm not sure what sort of programs he's familiar with anymore. A big issue with him is the fact that his weight causes him a lot of pain- joints, back, etc. So I think the main concern for him is losing fat so he can start to feel better/have more energy/etc.

Both of them will be 56 soon- I'm not sure how much of a difference that makes. If anyone has any thoughts on how to get them started/help them make prgoress, I'd be very grateful to hear them. We're getting them a gym membership for Christmas, and I wnat to help them get hte most out of it.

Thanks for reading this long post! -BG


#2

The usual full body programs, with high reps and light weights.

And cardio of course. Go slow with them at first and gradually let them work up a sweat as their physical condition improves.

It's preferable to build up a bit to slow over a bit to fast.

Injuries take VERY long to heal once you get a bit longer in tooth. I know, I'm nurturing a tear in my patella tendon for a year now.


#3

I'll be 57 next month and people are always asking me what to do to get started. Your parents won't do it, but here goes:

For your dad, needs two 25# dumbbells

farmer's walks-work on good posture
waiter's walks-may not get far, but just try it
suitcase walks-not hard at that weight

Work them in slowly. When they get easy, do them in combos

For your mom-same thing with two 12#ers.

If they do it and stay at it for a lousy five minutes a day, magic will happen. I have all kinds of people my age and older doing these to start back. Works if they want to do it.


#4

Thanks guys! Maybe I'll look into getting them som dumbells to keep at home/work to go along with the gym...then they will always have the opportunity to do something. :slight_smile:


#5

1) Have a full blood work done by family GP so we KNOW there are no underlying time bombs- LDL, Cholesterol, C-reactive protein, etc. . .

2) Have a good chiropractor analyze if they are overly favouring a side or limited in joint ranges of motion- so the program addresses NEEDS / deficiencies before goals ( look hot, etc.)

3) Invest more in a few sessions with a university educated trainer (ask for references as well0 - maybe from local gym . . .ask any golf pro, it's harder to "unteach" than lay a good foundation from the start . .

4) Let the trainer, using the chiro's notes, create a series of baby step programs using anything from bodyweight to some hand weights, tubing even balance work- be it Ian King single leg stuff or standing on something wobbly . .

After 20+ years in this game, that would be my approach . .
best of luck :slight_smile:


#6

Great advice from the above posts, try and get them to enjoy what they are doing, perhaps some aerobic work in some nice gardens or by the beach, something they could both do together.