Are you looking for a personal training certification that is more specialized for seniors? As always, you’ve come to the right place.
Here at The Fitness Tribe, we have reviewed the NASM CES certification, specializing in corrective exercises to help neuromuscular dysfunction.
Now it’s time to do the same for senior fitness certification. As people age, they need more specialized attention during workouts and might avoid or incorporate exercises depending on their fitness level.
If you’re looking into getting a senior fitness certification, we’ll give you some of the best programs available.
Through the guidance of these senior fitness professionals, you’ll be on your way to becoming a senior fitness instructor in no time.
Why Become a Senior Fitness Instructor?
We’re here to tell you there are many reasons why working with seniors is beneficial and rewarding.
For one thing, exercising as we age is vital in helping coordination, preventing falls, and building muscle and bone to prevent osteoporosis.
A study published in BioMed Research International showed older adults need 150 minutes a week of physical activity to help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer.
When seniors received that amount of physical activity, not only did it increase physical health, but it also showed positive effects on mental health.
Many seniors fear it’s too late to start a fitness program since they are older. A certified senior fitness instructor works with the older community to introduce exercise into their lifestyle.
Before implementing a senior fitness program, they consider injuries, surgeries, and overall health.
Having a senior fitness specialist certification can help them achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Best Senior Fitness Certifications
There are many different senior fitness certifications, so we researched some of the best programs. Before deciding on a senior fitness course, look at these programs.
Things like senior fitness certification cost, acquiring certification, trustworthiness, and study materials are vital.
We’ll discuss them and more with each program.
ACE, American Council on Exercise, is a highly regarded program for fitness trainers. The ACE Senior Fitness Specialist Program is specialized in working with older people aged 65 and older.
The curriculum includes the following:
- Coaching Senior Fitness
- Brain Health Trainer
- Interactive Case Study
Videos, books, learning activities accompany the curriculum, and an online quiz to help you achieve the senior fitness specialist certification. Let’s look at each area of the curriculum closer.
Coaching Senior Fitness
This part of the senior fitness course coaches fitness professionals on introducing exercise to the older community to help them stay independent and avoid a range of diseases that plague people as they age.
Learn how to design a fitness program for senior citizens keeping in mind where they are physically in their fitness journey, any previous or current injuries, and readiness to pursue exercise.
Brain Health Trainer
Cognitive decline is a serious threat to the older community. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6.2 million people aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
Studies published by the Alzheimer’s Society showed regular exercise could help decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Specifically, a study in Scotland showed that people over the age of 70 who were physically active experienced less brain shrinkage over three years than those who didn’t.
Because physical activity is so instrumental in the older community, ACE uses the Brain Health Trainer in their curriculum to emphasize the impact exercise has on the brain.
Fitness professionals learn how it affects cognitive function and provides a program to senior citizens with that knowledge intact.
Interactive Case Study
The Interactive Case Study portion of the program brings together everything you have learned from the Coaching Senior Fitness and Brain Health Trainer curriculums.
Get a sample senior to assess their health situation and design a program specifically for their health needs. Learn how to take a senior fitness program and customize it to your particular client.
- Offers a range of CECs (continuing education credits) for other fitness professional certifications
- Excellent content for senior fitness training
- More expensive senior fitness specialist certification at $374
ASFA, American Sports and Fitness Association, features a range of fitness certifications from personal trainers to coaching to group fitness.
A fitness professional can even do more advanced certifications like training seniors through ASFA. The senior fitness training certification guides fitness professionals to understand how fitness changes for older adults.
Learn how to create programs for the older generation and what components and considerations need to be assessed. This training gives you the knowledge of exercises to use, the proper form, and the right nutrition while exercising for your senior clients.
They offer recommended texts to read to enhance your learning and then have a quiz to take to test your knowledge. The beauty of this program is you only pay once you pass the test.
If you are already a personal trainer, you may be able to pass the test without any extra studying. The certification prices range from $249 for a year certification to $699 for lifetime renewal.
- An inexpensive option for a senior fitness course
- Pay only if you pass the test
- No curriculum
- Books need to be purchased separately
If you’re already in the fitness industry, chances are you have heard of NASM or have a certification with them already.
NASM, National Academy of Sports Medicine, is one of the most recognized personal trainer certifications globally.
Their advanced trainings, like the Senior Fitness Program, feature a structured curriculum to enable you to pass the final 100 question exam for certification.
The curriculum encompasses the areas below:
- Senior Fitness Specialization Scope of Practice
- Physical, Physiological, and Psychological Considerations of Aging
- Assessment Strategies for the Older Adult
- Program Components for the Older Adult
- Program Design (Exercise)
- Program Design (Nutrition)
- Business Development
This curriculum is available via a book, videos, and a digital portal for $374. Let’s take a look at each section.
Senior Fitness Specialization Scope of Practice
The first section takes you into the philosophy of exercise and how it changes as we age.
NASM provides evidence on assessing senior clients, what programs are best, and how to progress in physical training with older clients.
Physical, Physiological, and Psychological Considerations of Aging
In these chapters, NASM teaches how the body changes physically as we age. Everything from the effects of aging on the nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems are explained to understand better how to assist senior clients in reaching their fitness goals.
Assessment Strategies for the Older Adult
Assessments are vital for clients when you are a personal trainer. Before starting any kind of training program, you need to understand where they are for overall fitness and health.
This section teaches you how to assess the older community to reveal health concerns that impact their exercise program.
Program Components for the Older Adult
This portion encompasses four chapters to enable you to build a senior fitness program. It includes flexibility, cardiovascular, core, and resistance training for older adults.
Learn why each training is essential for the aging body and help prevent falls and build strength and independence.
Program Design (Exercise and Nutrition)
The following two sections are both about program design. The first section helps you design an exercise program that considers any medical issues or physical impairments.
The second section enables you to develop the proper nutrition guidelines for your senior client.
These senior fitness program designs are specific to the client and change depending on what kind of medical conditions they may or may not have.
The final portion of the program shows you how to market yourself as a fitness professional.
It also discusses the importance of a code of conduct as a trainer and the legal issues you need to know before getting a certification.
- Curriculum is extensive
- Content is plentiful
- Only three tries are allowed to pass the final exam
Another excellent senior fitness course, ISSA, International Sports Science Association, offers a course to enhance your personal fitness certification.
Learn how to assess older clients based on what they need from an exercise program depending on their fitness level and health. Identify chronic conditions and learn what exercises work best.
Learn about cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility as we age to incorporate those exercises into a senior fitness program.
Learn how to master teaching techniques, motivation, and marketing principles for senior clients.
This curriculum is available through a textbook, workbook, study guide, online student forum, exercise lab, and practice exam for $33.29/month for 12 months.
- The course offers practice exams unlike competitors
- Offer a monthly payment plan option
- Most expensive option
Final Thoughts on a Senior Fitness Course
A senior fitness certification is advanced training able to bring your professional fitness training career to the next level.
Learning to be a senior fitness specialist will empower you to help a community that needs exercise the most but are scared to get started.
It’s never too late to introduce yourself to exercise, and it’s vital as we age.
Any of these certifications will give you the tools you need to be successful in the senior fitness industry.