Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Exercise: An Individualized Prescription


By Leah Wagner, MS, Wellness Director at Westminster Village

An individualized exercise prescription is an exercise program that is tailored to your specific goals, needs, and abilities. Not every exercise program is a one-size-fits-all. Compare an exercise regimen to your medications. The same blood pressure medication does not work for everyone and neither does the exact same dosage. Take this into consideration when you are seeking a new exercise routine. Your program should be catered to your specific needs just like your daily medications.

To obtain an appropriate exercise routine, seek the help of a health or fitness professional who is certified and experienced with your specific age population. Check with your local gym to see if they offer a free initial assessment or if they have a fitness specialist on staff who can evaluate you. The fitness specialist will perform a detailed health history and fitness assessment in order to develop the best program for you. A fitness assessment involves a series of measurements that help to determine your current health and fitness level. Once your baseline health and fitness level has been determined, a fitness professional can recommend the most appropriate exercises to help you obtain your goal(s) in a safe and organized fashion.

There are many factors to take into consideration when prescribing an exercise routine. A health or fitness specialist will discuss with you your personal goal(s), exercise background, personal information, medical history, as well as your likes and dislikes regarding exercise. A typical functional fitness assessment for a healthy older individual would include a balance, muscular strength, agility, aerobic fitness, and flexibility test. Without these baseline measurements, it is not possible to individualize the exercise prescription.

After you have completed this assessment, the health or fitness professional will have a good idea of where you need to start. This assessment should be repeated a few times a year and especially after you have a change in your health history. With routine fitness assessments, the exercise specialist can continue to progress your fitness regimen. This way, your exercise plan is truly designed to meet your needs and no one else’s.

This does not mean group exercise classes are not beneficial. Group exercise instructors want to know their participant’s current fitness levels, so they can provide the best exercises as well. Inform your instructor of your goals and specific needs, as well as your abilities and concerns. Certified instructors are able to modify exercises for each individual.

Whether you need to improve your balance, posture, strength, flexibility, reduce pain or stress, or just want to feel better, an individualized exercise prescription can help. Physicians, therapists, and exercise specialists are trained to help you in your fitness journey.

Westminster Village is a continuing care retirement community, located at 2025 East Lincoln Street in Bloomington. Celebrating life, our mission is to provide excellence in senior living through a continuum of care and services. For more information, contact us at 309-663-6474 or visit