Fitness for Older Adults – An Untapped Market?

As a personal trainer you’re likely to work with clients between the ages of 20 and 55, guiding them through the process of physical fitness, conditioning, and preparation for sports events. However, older adults (people from the age of 60 and upward) could be an untapped market for personal trainers as their leisure time is greater than that of working people and the need to stay fit may be more important to this age group than many of us would think.

Special Fitness Needs of Older Adults

Older adults can benefit from a healthy lifestyle just as much as a younger person. Regular exercise, including moderate cardio and strength training sessions, can help prevent illness by keeping the heart healthy and lowering blood pressure, adding to the quality of life of older adults. However, trainers should keep the following special fitness needs of older adults in mind:

•    Getting back into exercise – Many older adults will be re-starting their exercise routine after years, or even decades of inactivity. For this reason, it’s crucial to design their fitness regimes carefully so that they begin with gentle cardio and strength training exercises. Once a baseline of fitness has been established, more challenging exercises can be included.

•    Starting off slowly – At first, 5 to 15 minutes of moderate exercise should be sufficient for older adults. A daily walk is an excellent option for older clients in between personal training sessions. Retired people may also want to organise group walks, which allow them to stay fit and socialise at the same time.

•    Choosing the right exercises – Older adults may have concerns about exercising because of joint problems. For this reason, exercises that take stress off the joints, like swimming, rowing, and walking should be emphasised.

•    Medical Considerations – Before starting a fitness programme, older adults should visit their GP or other healthcare professional for a full physical assessment. Any medical conditions that could impact on their ability to exercise must be considered before training can begin.

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