Backward Chaining And The Older Person

Helen is the founder of the Core Fitness and Wellbeing Centre,now Core Health Consultancy.  She is a level 4 PSI , personal trainer and exercise therapist.  She has a unique ability to inspire the chronically ill to gain confidence in using exercise as a road to health improvement.  She was nominated for the 2007 National Health Award for patients with long term conditions and subsequent accolades as her experience in this sector has grown.

The Backward Chaining Method takes the whole product first then breaks it down step by step to arrive back at the whole!

It is a method of learning a complex skill consisting of several actions. The actions are learnt in reverse order with the final action being learnt first, and so on.

"In the knowledge that falls are the leading cause of deaths in over 75 year olds I know there are simple fitness solution to create physical strength and power for a potential faller. After the first fall there is a 60% chance of falling again."

Lets look at rising out of a chair, turning around and stepping forward to kneel on the floor, both knees down, walk into a box position, turn on your side and sit on your hip and then slide to lie down. Easy!

Break it down into component parts and look at the biomechanics.

Sit to stand challenges vestibular, co-ordination, postural hypotension. It address thigh power and lateral thoracic breathing.

Stepping forward and slowly stepping on the spot addresses cardiovascular fitness and proprioception.

Lunge with strongest leg forward towards chair. LUNGE! Where do we begin or the importance of lunges? Think mostly balance and stabilization.

Wrist strength as you hold a pose whilst adjusting feet and knee alignment. (FYI –fractures cost the NHS I.7 billion a year. Wrists, spines and hips are the top 3 for fracture sites for the elderly)

Bring knees to floor and walk into a box position targeting balance and bone loading. Move into a side sitting position bringing in obliques, balance, co-ordination and shoulder stabilization.  Hold this to avoid postural blood pressure changes, then slide into a side lying position ready for floor exercise (but that’s another blog).

The entire component may take your client weeks or even months to successfully complete this.  It may save their life. In the event of a fall you have given the client enough strength to move away from a dangerous situation and get help. Your client will thank you for it.

Working with the older population is rewarding and challenging but completely wonderful. 

In over 75’s 3 x months of strength training rejeuvenates up to 20 years worth of lost strength.
— Skelton 1994

In over 75’s 3 x months of strength training rejeuvinates up to 20 years worth of lost strength.  – Skelton 1994

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