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VANCOUVER--Older adults represent a wide range of abilities and needs, from the active golfer seeking a pain-free swing to the house-bound person who needs strength for the activities of daily living. Personal fitness trainers likewise have a wide range of skills and abilities. To help older adults select a personal fitness trainer, the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has released the "ICAA Age-Friendly Personal Fitness Trainer Checklist." It is based on the "ICAA Questions to Ask a Personal Trainer" worksheet that is available for free at http://www.icaa.cc/consumer/age-friendlyguides.htm The worksheet explains how to evaluate the trainer's answers to questions, and the checklist is a handy format to record those answers. The worksheet and checklist cover the four areas that ICAA recommends older adults look at when interviewing fitness trainers: Experience, Education, Personality and Business Practices.
"We want older adults to be successful when they choose a personal trainer," explained Colin Milner, CEO of ICAA. "More older adults-from the Senior Olympian to the non-exerciser with a hip replacement-are seeking personal trainers. And personal trainers are available in more venues so they are easier to find.
"Adults over 55 are the fastest growing segment of health club members, according to IHRSA, the health club association, and virtually all health clubs offer personal training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that active adults between 50 and 75 years old are driving employment for personal trainers in programs that appeal to active retirees, such as cruise ships, golf clubs and hospital wellness programs. All these places offer personal training.
"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."
Look for a trainer who has a Yes beside most questions.
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.
For more information on how to evaluate a trainer's answers, download "Questions to Ask a Personal Trainer."
About the International Council on Active Aging
The International Council on Active Aging® is the professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry. ICAA supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging—an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness—and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport.
For interviews please contact:
Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
Contact: Marilynn Larkin
Communications Director, ICAA
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