Years ago, it wasn’t cool to be an older adult trainer. But times are changing, for many reasons training older adults is becoming a “cool,” thing to do. Here is a list of my top 10 reasons that I shared with my trainers a few weeks ago as to why I like training older
1. It makes a huge difference! The older we get the need for strength and power is critical! As a younger person, it really doesn’t matter as much to navigate some of the simplest demands of activities of daily living.
2. I like the hours better in which to train them. Early morning and throughout the day but not late into the evening. Training younger people is a schedule of early morning, not so much in the middle of the day, and then heavy training again after five o’clock
and and possibly late into the evening.
3. Not into it for the esthetics. Older adults have more of altruistic view of fitness. For them it is more about health and function and less about vanity.
4. Get to experience living history! I love hearing from our clients there early skiing experiences such as taking the first chairlift in existence at Alta, Utah. Just this January, a client reminded me that her first years skiing were on skies without metal edges, only the edge of the wood skies. Or, a client who was given the assignment from an entertainment organization to scout an up and coming musician in New York City, and reported back to her boss that it wasn’t worth pursuing. That newcomer was Billy Joel. And her response to me with laughter was, “oops missed that one!”
5. Being with an aging community on a daily basis keeps me connected with the aging process and is a constant reminder about my own choices about aging.
6. Built in retired consultants as your clients from all professions who still love to engage! They are eager to share their knowledge and utilize their skills to help.
7. Right livelihood. Our profession really helps people in so many ways as we all know. But I think working with population has a little special value to it as a helping profession.
8. Appreciation factor. Older adults simply appreciate the physical improvements they experience.
9. Unique individuals. I learned in one of my gerontology courses that, “the older we get the more unique we get.” Two infants at birth share very similar experiences but throughout the years of living and experiences people get more unique!
10. Job Security. The 55 group controls the three-fourths of America’s wealth. They have 3 times the net worth of younger generations. The 50+ group have 2.5 trillion in annual income.
If you are considering specializing in this area I don’t think you can go wrong. Do what you can to learn about older adults, not only in terms of fitness but all the other dimensions of wellness. The Functional Aging Specialist certification is a great way to enhance your career skills and opportunities!
Paul Holbrook, MA, CSCS
FAI Advisory Board Member
Owner, Age Performance