Your Health

Giving seniors the sweats: Local fitness guru sees future in fitness for elderly population

Ellie Van Houtte/ town crier
Trainer Adam Halper designed his senior fitness program in Los Altos Hills to focus on increased flexibility and range of motion. Halper is known among his students for providing individualized care.

For fitness trainer Adam Halper, age is just a number – not a barrier.

Halper, who earlier this summer began offering senior-focused fitness courses through the Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Department, said he’s a firm believer that local residents can become healthier in their later years – no matter if they’re coming back from an injury or simply choosing to pursue fitness for the first time.

“I know it’s really hard sometimes,” said Halper, who also works as a personal trainer for local athletes. “You’re either coming back from nothing or you’re starting from nothing. … But I also know that I can help them because I know the process – I know step-by-step what they should be doing.”

The Cupertino resident, originally profiled in the July 23 edition of the Town Crier, added that he knows all too well the trials and tribulations some of his clients go through. A former college pitcher at Cal State East Bay who majored in kinesiology, Halper said he played with two herniated discs in his back during his junior and senior seasons – resulting in five epidural procedures and eventually surgery.

“The irony is, I’m in these classes and it’s like, ‘Hey, this is what a bulging disc looks like, and this is why it hurts when you do these movements,’” said Halper, who worked at several East Bay physical therapy clinics while simultaneously moonlighting as a personal trainer before coming to Los Altos Hills earlier this summer.

The experience, he added, left him determined to help others seeking a return to fitness glory. These days, Halper said he’s focused mainly on carving out a niche as a senior fitness expert. He noted that his senior program focuses more on exercises that aid seniors in everyday life activities, including core strengthening, increased flexibility and range of motion and improved coordination.

“I just try to simulate a lot of everyday movements that we have to do. … With this, it’s about quality of life,” said Halper, who also offers an early morning boot camp class twice a week for students of all ages. “You just want to feel good. You just want to be able to do your everyday activities.”

Early returns

The early returns on his Los Altos Hills senior fitness program – offered twice a week at Los Altos Hills Town Hall – have been positive. Halper noted that he currently has eight to 10 seniors enrolled regularly in his program.

Los Altos Hills senior Jane Sturiale, for one, said Halper stands out because of the individualized attention he gives to each student in class.

“It’s an excellent class,” said Sturiale, who began taking it with her husband approximately three months ago. “He’s good at recognizing little things, like when someone’s leg or hip begins to hurt.”

Los Altos Hills resident Marcia Krueger added that Halper’s program has played a key role in her recovery from a fractured tibia – which she had surgically repaired approximately 10 weeks ago.

She specifically pointed to his background in both physical therapy and personal training – as well as his personal experience coming back from post-operative injuries – as having a positive impact in her return from injury.

“We’re doing the same things my physical therapist is doing with me,” she said. “It’s been helpful. He just knows what to watch for with me.”

With his program off to a promising start in Los Altos Hills, Halper said he’s hoping to eventually offer similar senior-focused classes in other surrounding communities. With an expanding baby boomer population entering retirement, Halper sees an opportunity to help local seniors become more health-conscious.

“I’m going to do what I can,” he said. “Hopefully I can expand and help as many people as possible. That’s what it’s all about.”

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Fitness guru Adam Halper

Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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