Month: August 2019

Why Fitness Professionals Must Learn to Help Mature Adults with Brain Health

Why Fitness Professionals Must Learn to Help Mature Adults with Brain Health

Humanity is racing toward a brain-health crisis, according to the World Health Organization. The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next three decades.

The helpful news from WHO is this: Exercise plays a key role in fighting cognitive decline and dementia.

So, those of us in the fitness industry have a greater chance than ever to make a big impact by including brain health in our training and interactions with people over 50.

That’s the message of Ryan Glatt, a brain health coach at the Pacific Brain Health Center.  Ryan and the Functional Aging Institute worked together to bring you the Brain Health Trainer Certification. It’s a unique program that teaches about the connections between brain and body health – and about how fitness professionals can help mature adults with both.

“We can play a significant role in delivering exercise interventions for the primary outcome of brain health, and not just as a secondary benefit of exercising,” Ryan says. “We need to do more.”

Fitness professionals have three steps to follow, he says.

  1. Educating the public about the cognitive benefits of exercise.
  2. Referring people with possible cognitive decline to doctors for early intervention – much like physical therapists refer patients to relevant medical professionals.
  3. Building exercise programming to create primary brain-health results.

Trainers need to encourage clients to have a well-rounded exercise routine that includes balance, resistance training, and cardio work. It helps to know how some activities can have specific benefits on memory, attention and other brain functions. That includes, for instance, dance, sports and martial arts, which involve some level of choreography, which is good for the memory.

Even in initial assessments with prospective clients, fitness pros can learn to raise the topic, Ryan says. For example, if a prospect in her 50s says she wants to lose weight, you can bring up the topic of brain health even at that early stage. “There’s a growing body of research that links exercise to brain health,” you might say. “Does that sound like something you’d like to work on, as well?”

That can open the conversation to topics that might indicate a referral is necessary – or help you build a fitness program to address them.

“We like to tell people that exercise will help them be able to play with their grandkids,” Ryan points out. “But we can also help train them so that they also can remember their grandkids’ names better.”

Brain health is a big, rich topic that we’re going to be hearing more about. Any fitness professional helping mature people live well should be educated on how to help with their brain health, too.

The training is geared to help fitness professionals who:

  • Want to slow the effects of aging on their client base and community.
  • Are looking for innovative fitness programming that is geared toward preventing cognitive decline and based on cutting-edge research.
  • Want to learn more about the brain, its relationship to exercise, and how fitness can help slow cognitive decline in people who need your help.

The course covers the neuroscience of:

  • ​The Course of Cognitive Aging
  • ​Cognitive Decline and Reserve
  • ​The Cognitive Domains of Attention, Memory, & Executive Functions
  • ​Functional Brain Networks and Neuroanatomy
  • ​Differential Effects of Exercise on the Brain & Cognition
  • ​Combining Exercise with Cognitive Stimuli

You can learn more about this powerful training opportunity here.

Going Global: FAI Hits the Road to China, Australia

Going Global: FAI Hits the Road to China, Australia

Healthy living for “active adults” isn’t just an American concern. Globally, many of the same issues that face us here also challenge our fitness peers across countries. And, on top of that, some of the world’s different cultures have unique challenges of their own.

That’s part of what motivates FAI’s outreach to other countries. We already have members around the world. And now we’re traveling to two conferences where we’ll be able to share the “functional aging” message with countless other people.

First, Cody Sipe is leading a group from the Functional Aging Institute to Shanghai for the IDEA China fitness conference in August.

Jacqueline Cheng, an FAI master trainer and partner, will be co-leading and translating the sessions with Cody. Dianne McCaughey will join Jacqueline and Cody for a two-day pre-conference workshop for Functional Aging Specialist Level 1 certification. Cody says they’re modifying the content somewhat to meet the market demands better, and there eventually will be four levels of the certification.

“Jacqueline is working hard to establish FAI education and programming in China and is speaking with and potentially collaborating with government officials, healthcare, medical professionals, aging service professionals, and fitness professionals,” said Cody, who was excited for his first trip to China. “Their culture is different, and so the approach is going to be a little different, but there is a lot of potential, and it is looking up.”

For example, he said, the focus won’t be on “older” adults, but on premature and unhealthy aging, which starts in the 30s and 40s. Jacqueline has assembled a strong group of leaders to help her with these efforts.

Cody will be speaking on:

  • Cognified Fitness for Optimal Aging (based on the Brain Health Trainer certification content)
  • Exercise to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease
  • Balance and Corrective Exercises

That’s not all.

FAI Master Trainer and board member Ken Baldwin is launching the Healthy Ageing Summit in Australia next year – and Cody will be speaking several times at that gathering, as well.

We’ll share more on this event as the time gets closer, but Ken joined us at the Functional Aging Summit in Albuquerque this year and is fired up to repeat much of our group’s energy Down Under next March in Brisbane.

And, keeping it closer to home, FAI has a couple of events planned in the United States next month, too.

Dan Ritchie will be speaking at the Elite Fitness and Performance Summit in Indianapolis Sept. 13-14. Dan’s topic is: “The 5 Next Big Things in Fitness Coming the Next 10 Years … And How to Be Ready.”

Dr. Evan Osar and Dianne Bailey will lead a tai chi conference in Denver Sept. 20-21. It’s called “East Meets West: Balance for Older Adults.

Group Coaching Could Be the Key to Launching Your Business to the Next Level — Join Us!

Group Coaching Could Be the Key to Launching Your Business to the Next Level — Join Us!

Group Coaching Could Be the Key to Launching Your Business to the Next Level — Join Us!

Would you like to double your membership within a few months?

Become the No. 1 fitness business for people over 50 in your community?

Enjoy a vacation while confident that your business can run in your absence?

Then you should consider joining FAI’s Mastermind, which exists to coach fitness pros like you with the advice, resources and support to get you to the next level of success and beyond.

The Mastermind is a small group of your peers – gym owners, studio owners, trainers and other fitness entrepreneurs. It usually has a couple of dozen members, is led by FAI co-founders Drs. Dan Ritchie and Cody Sipe, and meets four times a year in various cities across the country.

We want more of you to take advantage of this powerful resource. Join us September 12-13 in Indianapolis for our next Mastermind meeting. Make the decision and save on the hotel room with this FAI discount now through August 16.

Rave Reviews from Mastermind Members

Here are some sample endorsements from Mastermind members.

  • “I have just doubled my membership since January,” Sharan Tash reported in July. Sharan owns TASH Wellness for Women in Skokie, Illinois. She joined the Mastermind last year and prizes the friendships and business relationships she has made. They have included other members across the US and Canada, plus industry leaders and subject-matter experts.
  • Shelley Turk of Proactive in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan says Dan and Cody provided business coaching for her successful launch. Proactive has snowballed to become the community’s leading fitness source for people over 50. “Mastermind members are willing to share resources and ideas. We help each other move forward in our businesses and keep our mature clients on a healthy aging trajectory,” Shelley said.
  • “My business has almost tripled in the last year and a half since joining,” said Rosa Coletto of Full Circle Fitness in Tustin, California, who has delighted in finally taking some well-earned vacation holidays. “I finally love running my business.”

Mastermind Business Coaching Benefits

The FAI Mastermind will help you:

  • Avoid costly mistakes of time and money
  • Establish you as the local authority on functional aging
  • Grow your business faster and easier
  • Break through plateaus and sticking points
  • Remain accountable to meet deadlines
  • Get motivated to take massive action that fulfills your purpose
  • Market and sell to older clients effectively
  • Use our “done for you” resources that are proven to work

For more on Mastermind membership and upcoming dates, email us at

The Dirty Dozen Myths of Active Aging

The Dirty Dozen Myths of Active Aging

Hollywood helped whittle away at one myth in “The Intern,” which showed Robert DeNiro bringing plenty of value to Anne Hathaway’s workplace.


The Dirty Dozen Myths of Active Aging

Ever heard someone say something like this?  “Oh, he’s a very handsome man for his age.”

Or — “Old people are so sad all the time. Wouldn’t you be?”

What about: “I don’t like waiting on old people because they’re so tight with their money.”

These are all part of the persistent myths attached to older people. But like many myths, they’re wrong when it comes to the millions and millions of active agers who are fit and determined to enjoy life as long as possible.

Marketing guru Jeff Weiss of Age of Majority has been an FAI webinar guest and a Functional Aging Summit speaker, helping us learn more about our audience is so that we can better serve them.

Here are Jeff’s Dirty Dozen Myths of Active Aging. We can all benefit from this list if we want to improve our businesses and our relationships. Any of these will also make a great conversation starter with your staff, clients and prospects.

Myth 1

One foot in the grave: Getting older is really depressing, and you have nothing to live for.


Consumers are happiest between 65 and 79. Active agers have the time, money and desire to explore their sense of adventure.


Myth 2

What’s a Blue Tooth? Older people are technologically challenged and averse.


People over 50 are leading adopters and drivers of many tech devices and services.


Myth 3

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks: Active agers are stuck in their ways, don’t want to try new things and won’t switch brands.


Most welcome the chance to try new products, services and experiences and are willing to try different brands.


Myth 4

Don’t Forget My Senior Discount! Seniors don’t have money to spend.


Consumers over 55 control 70 percent of all wealth and account for 40 percent of consumer spending.


Myth 5

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! People are necessarily frail as they get older.


Mobility issues do not keep active agers from trying new things and moving.


Myth 6

You look great for your age: Everyone longs to look younger.


Active agers are more likely to feel good about their appearance than people 18 to 34.


Myth 7

Out to Pasture: Old people live in nursing homes.


More than 95 percent of consumers over 65 live independently.


Myth 8

When I Was Your Age: Older adults are disengaged from life and society.


Active Agers are embracing an exciting phase in their lives with time, money and drive to fulfill their desires.


Myth 9

Out of Sight: Targeting older consumers could alienate younger consumers.


Nonsense. Engage this lucrative market without worrying about alienating younger folks.


Myth 10

Past One’s Prime: Active Agers are no longer productive in the workplace.


There is virtually no relationship between age and performance.


Myth 11

Tried and True: Older consumers still rely heavily on traditional media when making purchasing decisions.


They use multiple digital and traditional channels on their “customer journeys.”


Myth 12

Oh, to Be Young Again…


Active agers embrace who they have become and are not longing to revisit their youth.


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