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How to Become a Personal Trainer for Senior Citizens
Personal training is a fast-growing and rewarding career that can be flexible to fit your needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the employment of fitness instructors is anticipated to grow 10 percent through 2026, which is faster than average for all job outlooks.
After becoming certified, you can choose to work with any age group you like, including senior citizens. In fact, as the population ages as Baby Boomers reach 65 and older, there will be a need for personal trainers who have the knowledge that's tailored to this specific age demographic.
After becoming certified to work with this specific group of people, you will have the knowledge to develop a personalized training program for each senior client, helping her to improve her mobility, health, independence and overall quality of life.
Get certified as a personal trainer. Choose a professional organization, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, The International Sports Science Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine and American Council on Exercise to receive your certification.
Choose a specialty, such as working with senior citizens. To set yourself apart from other personal trainers in your area and to increase your client base, it is important to specialize in a certain area.
Take a specialty course, such as the Senior Fitness Certification through The International Sports Science Association. This usually requires a few months of preparation, which are coupled with an online or proctored exam. The certification teaches fitness basics for older adults, such as flexibility training, and exercises that senior citizens should avoid.
Take courses in flexibility and strength training, such as yoga and Pilates. According to BLS, there's a demand for these niches because older adults are interested in the low-impact nature of these movements, as well as their ability to provide relief from arthritis and other conditions. You might also look into aquatic exercise as a form of low-impact activity for your clients.
Search for clients. You can either choose to work at a gym, private club, or start your own business. Advertise in places that seniors are more likely to see your services, such as in senior-specific local magazines or at senior homes or community centers.
Set up your first session, which should go over the client's current physical condition. Make sure there are no serious medical conditions that can prevent them from exercising safely, and then create a program that's tailored to their needs. Ask the client to complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) and bring a note with clearance to exercise from their doctor.
- International Sports Science Association: Senior Fitness Certification
- American Council on Exercise: Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist Certification
- American Council on Exercise: ACE Personal Training Certifications
- PT on the Net: A Personal Trainer’s Guide to the Aging Population
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Fitness Trainers and Instructors
- When working with special groups, such as senior citizens, make sure you carry liability insurance.