Getting Fit: How To Measure Progression!

Bramley Court’s resident personal trainer and qualified Nurse, Marion Foreman, tells us how to measure a resident's real progression on their fitness journey.

I work as a personal trainer in gyms, as part of my role I look at my client’s goals and figure out the steps that they will need to take to achieve them.  As we work together we review progress and see how they are measuring up.  So, for example, we might look at how fast my client can run or row.  We might consider the resistance and speed on the bike or the cross trainer and, of course, we look at the weights that they can lift.

And its just the same in a care home.  We meet people who have, for one reason or another, lost quite a bit of their mobility and strength.  Maybe they have been sedentary at home or have been in hospital and spent a great deal of time in bed or sitting out in a chair.

Very often the goal of a resident in a care home is to regain mobility.  But it’s about more than just physical movement – it’s about regaining their confidence and a sense of self.  Most people know that we need to keep mobile but often people come into a care home because of illness or because they either can no longer manage at home.  They can be disorientated by the changes, possibly undernourished and a bit fearful.

The team members in the care home work hard to help their residents to regain self-respect and a sense of purpose.  Using carefully planned meals, the right level of care and appropriate activities we often see residents take on a new lease of life.  We watch their progression as they start to enjoy delicious food, engage with the staff and other residents and generally join in with what the home has to offer.

This is where a planned exercise programme comes in.  Making sure that every resident is assessed and allocated to the right exercise class is pivotal.  At first, newcomers can be unsure and tentative but quickly they see what is going on around them and become excited to be part of the activities.  Then before long we start to notice progression in the little things which, in turn, serves as further motivation and inspiration to continue.  Suddenly, the lady who first declared that the lightest weight wass ‘very heavy’ wants to try the next size up.  We see the man who hasn’t stood on his own for months take his first magical steps after practising and practising.  We see the lady who simply wanted to climb the stairs again persevere until she could do a whole flight.  And even the lady whose new found mobility allowed her to rediscover her love of gardening and is outside ‘pottering’ nearly every day.

All these stories provide proof, if it was needed, that wasted muscles can regrow and become strong again.  Proof that ‘personal bests’ don’t have to be world record breaking – they just have to mean the world to someone.  Our residents don’t get medals for their achievements but they get back their confidence and motivation to keep on going.  Now that’s the realprogression we should all look out for when we embark on our personal fitness journeys.