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What should individuals 45 years of age and older look for when shopping (interviewing) for a personal trainer? According to recent research from IDEA Health and Fitness Association, 51% of all personal training clientele are 45 years of age or older. This would stand to reason as this group has over 50% of the discretionary income, and more importantly spend more of their income on health that any other item, according to the World Health Organization.
If you are considering using a personal trainer to reach your fitness goals here are some concerns that
you need to be aware of.
1. First things first. Ensure that the personal trainer is certified to work with people who may have physical and mental conditions.
2. The personal trainer must offer programs designed to meet the needs of those with a variety of chronic health conditions, i.e. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, balance abnormalities, muscular weakness, osteoporosis, hypertension, arthritis, depression, dementia, etc.
3. The personal trainer should offer you a free evaluation and consultation, medical screening and 50% off your 1st two sessions. This will help you become familiar with your surroundings and see if the personal trainer is a good fit/match for you.
4. The personal trainer should also help educate your family. They should offer an introductory sessions that are specifically designed for your family and friends so they can learn more about the program, as their support may be key to their longevity in the program.
5. The personal trainer should work with you on goal setting and provide written or printed exercise programs (in large print if necessary). Be sure that the goals are real world goals, i.e. playing with your grand children, gardening, housework and basically improving your overall ability to function on a day-to-day basis, etc.
6. The personal trainer should ensure that all your programs have different levels of intensity, duration and frequency, and are offered at various levels of attention.
7. The personal trainer should have you undergo an extensive functional assessment program, i.e. balance, range of motions, strength, cardiovascular health, etc.
8. The personal trainer should offer monthly updates in goals and assessments and ongoing encouragement.
9. Your programming should incorporate cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and balance training, with a warm-up and cool down period. This training should be based on your level of function and desired goals.
10. Make sure the personal trainer is willing to work with your physician and other healthcare providers.
11. The personal trainer should be able to provide rehabilitation programs designed to meet the needs of those with physical limitations.
12. The personal trainer should be able to provide programming within the six dimensions of wellness: spiritual, vocational, physical, social, emotional and intellectual.
13. The personal trainer should have a network of professionals that they partner with to offer counseling
and/or seminars on the following topics:
b. Behavioral Modification
c. Pain Management
d. Stress Management
14.Many barriers exist for the 45 plus market, the most common challenges typically cost little to address, such as staffing and staffing issues:
• The personal trainer should be polite, friendly and caring, and enjoy serving older clients.
• The personal trainer should greet you warmly and professionally every time they enter the
15. The personal trainer should be knowledgeable about the impact medication can have on exercise.
16. The facility should have on-site or be affiliated with, a doctor, nurse or physical therapist.
17. The personal trainer should offer flexible hours and program times.
18. The personal trainer or the facility that he or she works in must offer age-friendly fitness equipment
that is accessible.
19. The personal trainer must be aware of accessible programs and services for people with disabilities.
20. The personal trainer must have a corporate policy that allows service animals (i.e. guide dogs).
These are only a few of the many items and services that should addressed by a personal trainer who wants to provide services the 45 plus population. However, according to a recent research, the fact that more adults are recognizing the health benefits of exercise, fitness is becoming one of the fastest growing fields. Employment in the US is forecast to increase from 177,790 fitness workers in 2003 to 263,947 by 2012, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and increase of almost 50%... “Specialist point to two
factors fueling the growth: the aging of the American population and increased interest in worker fitness by
employers.” If America follows this trend, as it should, the future for all of us in the fitness business (both clients and employees alike) is very bright.
Researched & Written by Robert Bovee Corporate Wellness Director to all Rochester Athletic Clubs & Regional Advisor & Consultant to all Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists for Rochester and Buffalo Athletic Clubs