Finding age friendly personal fitness trainers
The fitness abilities and needs of seniors vary dramatically, and a personal trainer can be the key to reaching your fitness goals – no matter what those are. The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) released the "ICAA Age-Friendly Personal Fitness Trainer Checklist" to help seniors identify the ideal personal trainer. Just a few of the many benefits of having a personal trainer include safety, education and motivation. Trainers can help seniors identify exercises based on their needs, teach proper form, and provide encouragement along the way.
The first step is finding the right personal trainer. The checklist covers four areas: experience, education, personality and business practices.
"We want older adults to be successful when they choose a personal trainer," Colin Milner, CEO of ICAA, said in a release. "More older adults – from the Senior Olympian to the non-exerciser with the hip replacement – are seeking personal trainers. And personal trainers are available in more venues so they are easier to find." He continued: "We needed a tool to help older adults find the right personal trainer. There are so many certifications and degrees that it is hard for older adults to know what to look for. The Age-Friendly Checklist was designed to look beyond a single piece of paper to qualities that will help older adults be comfortable when selecting a personal trainer."
The "ICAA Age-Friendly Personal Fitness Trainer Checklist":
(The ideal trainer for you will have the most “Yes” responses)
- Y/N Does the trainer have at least two years of experience as a trainer?
- Y/N Does that include experience training clients my age?
- Y/N Will the exercise program be based on an individual assessment of my goals, abilities and health status?
- Y/N Has the trainer worked with people with my medical conditions? (eg, arthritis, diabetes or back pain)?
- Y/N Has the trainer worked before with a physical therapist or a physician?
- Y/N Does the trainer know about exercise limitation for the medications I take?
- Y/N Does the trainer have education in exercise sciences and program design?
- Y/N Is there specific education in gerontology or the changes that occur as people age?
- Y/N Does the trainer have a personal training certification?
- Y/N Is there a resource (advisory board, professor, colleagues) the trainer uses to answer questions and generate ideas?
- Y/N Does the trainer feel that you should "work through" pain you feel during exercise? (The answer should be "no.")
- Y/N Does the trainer recommend a diet or supplement? (The answer should be "no" unless the trainer is also a registered or licensed dietitian.)
- Y/N The trainer has told me what to expect from the sessions.
- Y/N My time commitment, including days exercising on my own, is clear.
- Y/N The trainer seems to have a sense of humor and personality that I like.
- Y/N The trainer listened carefully to my questions and answered them.
- Y/N The clothes, posture and verbal skills are a good match for me.
- Y/N I think I can spend several hours a week with this trainer.
- Y/N The trainer can work in my home (if applicable).
- Y/N I will receive written invoices and records of my sessions for my family and insurance company.
- Y/N The trainer offers other services I'm interested in, e.g., referral to a dietitian or massage therapy.
- Y/N The costs of the session are clearly stated.
- Y/N There is a cancellation policy I understand.
- Y/N The trainer will give me references to past clients.
- Y/N If coming to the house, the trainer is insured or bonded.