Lee Luetkehoelter, 91, from Winnipeg, used to keep physically active thanks to daily exercises during his time serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Fast forward a few decades – and one pandemic – later, Lee completes exercises from his home, with the instruction of a Reh-Fit personal trainer via FaceTime.

Lee has made an effort to stay physically active throughout his life, and has been a member of the Reh-Fit Centre for over 30 years. Just over two years ago, he began working with Reh-Fit  personal trainer Sam Higham. Since then, the pair have been meeting twice per week to focus on improving mobility, balance, and strength.

The Pivot: In-Person to Virtual Sessions

The Reh-Fit Centre has closed its doors twice since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the second closure, the pair pivoted their in-person meetings to short sessions over FaceTime.

During their sessions, Higham talks him through various exercises over the video call. She watches his form and can make corrections as needed. Aside from the absence of hands-on adjustments, the experience is very similar to an in-person session.

“It works rather well,” according to Lee, noting resuming their sessions during lockdown helped him get out of “a bit of a slump”.

Staying Connected with Technology

So how does a 91-year-old adapt to rely on technology during a pandemic? Well, just like the rest of us. Lee’s adult children live in Calgary and Toronto, so he was already accustomed to regular use of Zoom and FaceTime.

Now, he appreciates keeping up with his exercise routine when he can’t come to the Reh-Fit in person.

Benefits of Personal Training for Older Adults

Sam Higham, Clinical Exercise Physiologist and certified personal trainer, has a lot of experience working with older adult clients.

“It’s important to just keep people moving, keep them mobile – especially when people are at home more and more. For Lee the focus is really on flexibility and improving his balance.”

“He lives alone, so fall prevention is another big part of our focus.”

Lee had several falls before starting focused personal training. Since then, his number falls have been greatly reduced.

“Lee’s son, on numerous occasions has told me how much better his dad is doing – and how happy he is with the amount of improvement he’s made,” said Higham.

“I Feel Better”

As for Lee, he sees and feels the benefits, too.

“It really does pay off. I feel better, I’m a little bit more limber. And Sam’s careful not to overdo it.”

“Though she is sometimes demanding,” he later quipped, laughing, “Though I suspect those are the parts that I benefit from the most.”

Personal training can be a great resource for older adults looking to stay active at home in a safe and supportive way. Learn more about personal training at the Reh-Fit Centre on our website or book a consultation today.