Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Senior Fitness Management: The Age Suit Shows How Aging Feels

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

senior fitness, dumbbell, exercise, agingAs exercise science professionals, many of us are in our peak fitness years. We work with a wide range of clientele in our corporate and retirement fitness centers, and we assume that we know how to adapt exercises to how the older generation operates. But do we really know what it feels like to age?

Researchers at MIT recently created what’s called the Age Suit. The intent was that someone could step inside the suit and instantly feel like they were 74 years old. Features include

  • Padded shoes that throw off balance
  • A cord restricting movement of the back while adding pressure to the spine
  • Compression bandages around the knees
  • Gloves that make gripping objects harder
  • A brace around the neck limiting range of motion
  • Blurry goggles

One of NBC's Today Show correspondents tried on the Age Suit and was given the task of grocery shopping. He reported back that not only was it harder to see the grocery list and the items on the shelves, but it was hard to reach any objects that were on high or low shelves.

Often, when adapting exercises for our older clients, we think about only one or two of the factors that could be inhibiting them―for example, weak knees or a stiff back. We must remember that many of these older clients experience several symptoms of aging, that when combined require specialized exercise prescriptions.

It’s also important to remember that not every older person functions exactly the same. Some have been active for many years while others in a senior fitness center may be experiencing exercise for the first time. The Age Suit offers a great reminder that sometimes we need to literally step into someone else’s shoes.

Topics: senior fitness management