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General Programming and Common Issues

Discover general considerations, medication alert and safety issues clients should consider for optimal wellbeing.
older adults stretching
© CQUniversity 2021

General Programming


  • Clients need to self-identify tasks and activities of daily living they feel are important
  • Improvement in the execution of tasks can be used to determine progress
  • Group activities are very beneficial for physical and more importantly mental health
  • Four strands of fitness – strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance.

Safety First

  • Good footwear- non-slip
  • Floor surface – not slippery, uncluttered, no mats or other trip hazards
  • Good lighting – possible vision issues
  • Mirrors – feedback mechanism – checking technique and posture
  • Music – choice, level, balance with microphone – auditory issues, hearing aids, frequency sensitivities
  • Prepare for varying participant ability levels – have a choice of exercise options
  • Temperature – older bodies have more difficulty with temperature regulation- feel the cold and the heat more. The temperature will also affect some conditions like asthma and arthritis
  • Intensity monitoring – need to make exercisers aware of signs when intensity may be too great – difficulty breathing, weakness and muscle fatigue, pain in any form and dizziness. The instructor will need to keep a close eye on all participants to ensure intensity and load is appropriate.

Medication Alert

  • Instructors need to be aware of the possible effects of medication on the clients when participating in an exercise program
  • Commonly prescribed are beta-blockers and other blood pressure medication, diuretics, angina medications, anti-depressants, aspirin, and arthritis medications
  • Beta-blockers reduce heart rate and cardiac output – use rate of perceived exertion rather than heart rate to determine intensity. They can also cause fatigue and dizziness
  • Other anti-hypertensives lower blood pressure and can contribute to dizziness and fatigue
  • Angina medications – the side effect of postural hypotension and reduced cardiac output
  • Diuretics can be used in conjunction with blood pressure medication so encouraging water intake is important to prevent dehydration
  • Nitrates can be used for angina – they dilate the blood vessels and side effects include headaches, nausea, and hot flushes
  • Anti-depressants – side effects can include weight gain, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, and anxiety
  • Arthritis medications – stronger ones are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Stomach upsets and rashes can occur.

Other Issues


  • Add demands on other body systems
  • e.g. unstable surfaces, altered lighting conditions, add a second task.


  • Fluctuating health
  • e.g. the varying effects of multiple medications, varying pain levels.
© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Developing Fitness Programs for Older People

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