Seniors Becoming Personal Trainers

Did you know that 80% of seniors do not adhere to a regular fitness program? Or that many chronic diseases can be prevented by staying active? For retired seniors who have an interest in health and fitness, pursuing a second career as a personal trainer may be the perfect opportunity to turn a passion into a money-making venture; and this career path has more potential than you might think.Seniors Becoming Personal Trainers

According to an article published by the New York Times, studies show that there has been a “steady increase in the number of older adults who are choosing to work in the business of working out.” IDEA Health and Fitness Association, a national organization of fitness professionals, reveals that they have seen a substantial increase in seniors attending their events: in 2016, “42% of the attendees were 45-64” years old.

Barriers to Exercise for Seniors

While we know that exercise can benefit seniors in a variety of ways, many people over the age of 65 avoid adopting a daily fitness routine. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, many seniors are reluctant or scared to exercise due to the perceived barriers they face.

These barriers include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Cost
  • Current health conditions
  • Fear of injury
  • Inertia
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of support
  • Self-consciousness

Lack of support not only refers to family and friends, it also includes the support of a personal trainer. Many seniors are deterred by young, vibrant trainers who may not understand them and their unique needs. Some seniors worry their personal trainer will not consider their physical abilities and limitations, will push them too hard, or simply won’t know how to coach someone in their senior years.

Seniors who are themselves personal trainers are the solution! Coaching a peer means you have an inherent understanding of these concerns. Senior personal trainers are the ideal people to assess an older client’s skills and abilities including balance, cardiovascular strength, flexibility and stability, and customize a training plan that is comfortable, effective and safe.

Fitness Goals Are Different for Seniors

“For my older clientele, a lot of it comes down to maintaining independence,” Jerry Hart, a 65-year-old personal trainer tells U.S. News. “They don’t want to fall. They don’t want to be fearful about falling. They want to be able to do the things they had to stop doing. It’s really a kick in the anatomy when you can take a client like that and enable them to get their confidence back.”

For many seniors, life goals change over time and with age. When it comes to fitness, a popular goal is to lose weight. However, weight loss is often not the main objective for seniors, whose goals are more likely to be achieving a state of overall health, which will allow them to:

  • Maintain their independence
  • Minimize risk of chronic diseases
  • Perform activities of daily living

The Benefits of Becoming a Senior Trainer

Becoming a personal trainer in your senior years has many benefits and rewards, for both yourself and the older adults you work with, including:

  • Filling a gap in the market with an ability to connect with older clients better than younger trainers can
  • Pursuing your passion will help you remain active and happy as you age
  • The personal satisfaction of teaching senior clients how to exercise safely at their own level and pace, despite any medical issues they may have
  • Using yourself and your experiences as an example for other seniors – if you can do it, so can they

Becoming a personal trainer in your senior years is a great way to fulfill your passion for health and fitness while assisting others along their fitness journey.

Kimberley Fowler is a writer and editor dedicated to improving seniors' lives through education, activism, volunteerism and community programs. Her other passions include yoga, literature, history, education and conservation. She is active in her local community and currently volunteers with the Hamilton Naturalists' Club. Kimberley earned a Master of Arts in English Literature and Language from the University of Windsor, an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.

1 Comment

  1. Natalie May 2, 2018 Reply

    Nice Blog! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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