Given that exercise can reduce disease, prolong life, and increase vitality, it’s no wonder that each year more and more senior citizens are committing to a regular exercise program. Many seniors begin with a basic routine consisting of walking, riding a stationary bike, and using a few weight machines.
This is a great start, but if you want to see continued improvements in your health and energy levels, it is important to try new things and evolve your program every few months. Too many people continue to do the exact same program for years on end.
The problem with this is that if you don’t challenge your body with new exercises every few months, it will get used to what you are doing. Then your workouts will no longer present enough of a stimulus to encourage the body to make further improvements.
If developing a new exercise regimen seems like a daunting task for you, meeting with a personal trainer for a session or two could be exactly what you need. But you don’t want just any trainer. In many states, just about anyone can be a trainer without even a certification or a degree. Here are some things you should ask before choosing the right person for you:
Are you certified? Though there are hundreds of certifications out there, there are only a few that are generally accepted as high-quality. They are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the American Council of Exercise (ACE). Check for these credentials to ensure that you don’t end up working with someone who got their certification after a three-hour class on a Saturday morning.
Do you have a degree? Look for a trainer who went to college to learn about exercise. Common degrees in the field are Exercise Science, Human Movement, Kinesiology, Athletic Training, Fitness Management, and Community Health. In-depth knowledge of the human body will usually translate into a safer and more effective exercise program for you.
Do you have experience? Ask how long they have been a trainer and if they have worked with someone your age before. Training a senior citizen is a lot different than training the typical client.
What kind of exercises will we be doing? A good senior fitness workout should emphasize leg and core strengthening exercises, drills for balance and coordination, and stretches for good posture. Cardiovascular training is another essential component of a good regimen, but most trainers will have you do that on your own.
How long will workouts be? Personal training sessions are usually one hour, but that may be longer than your capacity allows. If needed, ask if workouts can be broken up into half-hours. This will also result in lower expenses per week for you.
Overall, finding a good personal trainer can do wonders for your workout routine. Whether you only do a few sessions, or you see your trainer a few times a week for several months, you will probably find going to the health club a little more exciting, and you may be surprised by the improvements in your fitness level.