Why Hiring a Personal Trainer Is a Growing Trend Among Seniors

An elderly woman using a strength machine in a gym

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Some personal trainers and organizations are now offering specialized fitness programs that cater to seniors who want more independence, more functional mobility, and greater health and stability for daily living. This specialized form of personal training addresses many of the physical declines that seem to occur with age (loss of balance, coordination, strength, and endurance) that lead to a lower quality of life and less overall independence.

Personal Training for Seniors Is Not Just Easier Training

A snap assessment of "senior personal training" might lead one to think it's just easier personal training. Not so, but it does mean the training focuses on different needs and limitations. Exercises that take into account common problems associated with age, including joint pain and general joint health and safety, is critical for senior-focused training.

Motivation is also an important aspect of personal training for seniors—especially for those for whom fitness has never been a focus in their lives. It is easy to become discouraged when faced with reduced flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance. The notion that they're just "too old" for this sort of thing or that it's too risky can keep seniors from pursuing a fitness routine.

This is where the personal trainer who specializes in senior fitness is important. Having someone to push you but also reassure you can build confidence, which brings benefits of its own beyond the physical benefits.

The worry about the risk of injury is well-founded because as we age our bodies don't bounce back as quickly, and minor injury can lead to bigger problems.

If you've never used a gym, walking into one can be intimidating—no matter your age. But this should not stop you from your goals of physical improvement.

Senior Personal Training Is a Growing Trend

As the baby-boomer generation ages, the need for trainers specialized in senior fitness has grown and will continue to grow for years to come. Some trainers market exclusively to seniors, but more often it's the senior-friendly gyms and organizations that market their programs.

YMCAs across the country offer special programs and classes for older adults, and senior centers have also been providing senior exercise classes for years. It's only now that personal trainers are seeking the baby-boomers and making house calls.

Senior fitness programs that offer one-on-one training is an area with growing support. Research continues to find that a well-planned, progressive exercise program can lead to dramatic improvements in strength, balance, confidence and the ability to live independently in seniors from 50 to 80 and beyond.

By Elizabeth Quinn, MS
Elizabeth Quinn is an exercise physiologist, sports medicine writer, and fitness consultant for corporate wellness and rehabilitation clinics.