Health experts recommend plyometrics for aging baby boomers, seniors

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- Fitness trainers use plyometrics with athletes and regular gym goers, but experts say there is a strong indication that this reactive training is beneficial for seniors.

Mike Lukich, 75, strength trains three to five times a week and cycles up to 50 miles a day, yet he feels the effects of aging.

"Balance is the one thing I'm losing a little bit," said Lukich.

So, he is trying plyometrics to help that.

Plyometrics, also known as jump or reactive training, is a concept that fights gravity with positive motion. Together, motion and balance are brought into the mix to prevent injury.

John Platero who founded the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers, recently created the Senior Specialist Certification program for trainers.

"For seniors, the idea of functional independence and freedom of movement is essential for their quality of life," said Platero.

Most trainers use plyometrics with athletes, but there are ways the concept can be applied to everyone, baby boomers included.

"Plyometrics are about giving you a body that works so that you have strength and power to go live your 165 hours differently from the training that you do, three hours in the gym," said fitness pro Peter Twist.

Twist demonstrated the difference between an athletes plyo and a senior's. There are similar moves but very age specific.

"According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, the possibility of a hip fracture increases over 50 percent once they get 50," said Platero.

In addition, losing bone density, muscle mass and joint fluidity raise the risk for injuries.

"If you're walking down the stairs and you stumble and you have to react quickly and your brain and your muscles aren't firing quickly enough to catch yourself," said Platero.

That's where plyometrics can help.

No matter what you're age, the most important thing to remember is you do not have to jump. In reactive training, it's a step-by-step progression so that you can become successful.

Step ups, knee holds, small patterns that stabilize joints like ankles, knees and hips and strengthen the core for that unseen moment helps mind and body to work together.
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