Beyond the Gym Tulsa

The Ultimate Guide to Personal Training for Seniors

Personal training for seniors

Table of Contents

Are you a senior looking to stay active, improve your health, and enhance your overall well-being? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the world of personal training for seniors and show you how it can transform your life. Whether you’re new to fitness or looking to take your workouts to the next level, our expert tips will prepare you to achieve your goals. Let’s get started!

Reasons Why Seniors Should Try Personal Training

Physically, exercise in older adults and seniors can:

  • Improve strength
  • Increase muscle size
  • Increase muscle tone
  • Relieve arthritic pain
  • Help with weight loss
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Improve heart health
  • Improve flexibility
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost immune system
  • Prevent chronic health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, hypertension, and/or cancer

Functionally, physical activity and exercise in older adults and seniors can:

  • Prevent falls
  • Maintain independence
  • Maintain hobbies
  • Increase lifespan

Mentally and emotionally, physical activity and exercise in older adults and seniors can:

  • Improve cognitive function
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve confidence
  • Improve mood
  • Support social engagement

And yet, despite this lengthy list of benefits, physical activity levels in older adults and seniors remain well below the recommended amounts.

Why? How is that even possible?

Senior excited about magic exercise pill

If there were a pill available that provided all the same benefits of exercise, everybody would be taking it! Gimme! Gimme!

We all know we should be working out and exercising regularly, and yet, we still don’t do it. Why?

Well, to put it simply, working out isn’t easy. And there are many questions older adults and seniors specifically have about exercising and working out:

  • What exercises should I do?
  • What are the best exercises for mobility/strength/balance/losing weight/etc.?
  • Should I do cardio or lift weights?
  • What weight should I use?
  • How do I make sure I am doing the exercise correctly?
  • What if I have an injury that limits what I can do?
  • How hard should I push myself?
  • How do I motivate myself to work out every day?

Well, the easiest way to address all these questions is to hire a personal trainer!

The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Trainer for Seniors

Hiring a personal trainer that understands how to work with older adults and seniors may be the single best investment you can make in your life! The right personal trainer can:

  • Design a program with the exercises, weights, sets, and reps to meet your needs and goals
    Exercise selection, resistance, and sets/reps/volume are the nuts and bolts of a workout. Your personal trainer will set up a program specifically designed to meet your needs and goals.
  • Suggest activities and exercises that match your experience level, body type, and available equipment
    Each person’s journey is unique and each person’s workout program should also be unique!
  • Provide recommendations on how hard to work during exercise
    Sometimes we all need a little push!
  • Create a program that works around old injuries and minimizes risk of new or re-inury
    Navigating an injury isn’t easy! Having someone that can give you instructions on what to do without making things work provides a sense of relief to senior citizens!
  • Monitor your exercise form and technique
    Having someone who can give you immediate feedback and teach you proper form is helpful, especially when you are new to working out.
  • Offer variety so you don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same thing every time you go to the gym
    Exercise variation is an important factor when designing an exercise program and can help improve long-term performance and decrease injury risk. Spice it up!
  • Help you track your progress
    A personal trainer can use objective tests to ensure you achieve results and can make modifications as needed to make sure you stay on track!
  • Offer expert advice
    Personal trainers can often help with many aspects of your overall health, not just your workout. Often, they can provide recommendations on things like nutrition and sleep too!
  • Hold you accountable
    Your personal trainer is there to make sure you stay motivated and committed to your workout — because, let’s be honest, sticking to your workout plan is the hardest part!
  • Make working out more convenient and fun!
    Time spent with a personal trainer can reduce loneliness and lead to some laughs.

What to Consider When Hiring a Personal Trainer

Credentials

A personal trainer with a degree in exercise science or kinesiology means he/she may have more education and knowledge on the human body. This degree can come from any accredited college or university.

Additionally, most personal trainers have additional certifications through national organizations and may offer more expertise. The most well-known personal trainer certifications come from:

  • NSCA: National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • ACSM: American college of Sports Medicine
  • NASM: National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • ACE: American Council on Exercise
  • NPTI: National Personal Training Institute
  • ISSA: International Sports Sciences Association
  • CrossFit

It should be noted that there is no degree or certification that can guarantee excellence. There are plenty of incredible personal trainers out there without formal academic training and there are plenty of personal trainers out there with a laundry list of certifications after their name, that are complete duds. It’s ultimately up to you what you want to see in your personal trainer.

Expertise

Consider your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Do you want to get in shape and feel better about yourself? Do you want to run your first 5k? Do you want to take up power lifting? Do you want to continue to ski? Do you just want to avoid hurting your back again? Do you want to improve your balance to reduce your risk of falling? Do you want to be able to keep up with your grandkids?

The answers to these questions will help determine the type of personal trainer you’re looking for. You want to look for a personal trainer that has expertise in the area you want to train. Ask them questions!

Collaboration

It is important for your personal trainer to collaborate with your medical team to ensure that all aspects of your health are being addressed. If you think it would be beneficial, consider asking your personal trainer to connect with your doctor, your physical therapist, your nutritionist, your health coach, etc.

The Beyond The Gym Difference

At Beyond The Gym, we are experts in managing injuries! Our goal is to bridge the gap between medical recovery and fitness in the Tulsa Midtown area. At Beyond the Gym there is a seamless transition from being a patient to independence in the gym. 

We get it. You just spent all that time working to get rid of your pain – the last thing you want to do is risk hurting yourself again. But you still want to get back to your life. You want to be healthier. 

Well, we work closely with our team of physical therapists to help you maximize your recovery after an injury! Our services and practices are designed to help individuals recover from past injuries and prevent any future issues caused by incorrect forms, stretches, or exercises.  If you are recovering from an injury or have certain health conditions that you are concerned about when it comes to starting a new workout program, we would love the opportunity to help you! Please contact us here.

Personality

How much help do you need? Do you need a hands-on approach with consistent guidance? Do you want more space? Do you need someone who will cheer you on or show you some tough love and call you out when you’re slacking off? Do you need someone to play the Rocky Balboa theme song at exactly the right time?

It is important to set expectations and have these conversations with your personal trainer. You want to make sure your personalities are compatible.

Cost

Prices for personal training for seniors may vary based on:  

  • Location
  • Quantity, frequency, and duration of your training sessions
  • Group versus individual personal training
  • In-person or virtual/online personal training
  • What kind of training you are looking for

Have an idea in mind what you want to pay for personal training services and discuss options with your personal trainer.

How to Find a Personal Trainer for Seniors

There are a few specialized certifications that distinguish personal trainers that have expertise in working with older adults, senior citizens, and geriatric clients. Personal trainers for seniors may have the following specialty certifications: 

  • ACSM Exercise is Medicine Credential
  • ISSA Senior Fitness Certification
  • ACE Senior Fitness Specialist Program 
  • NASM Senior Fitness Specialization (SFS)

These certifications differentiate personal trainers with the expertise to design programs with appropriate exercises and training intensities specific to senior citizens.

What Type of Personal Training is Recommended for Older Adults?

One of the biggest concerns that you and other older adults and seniors may have about starting personal training is making sure that the personal trainer understands that they aren’t 18 years old anymore. Most elderly clients aren’t interested in doing burpees, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, and sprints over and over in a circuit. 

But what are the differences between training someone under 18, between 19 and 50, and over 50? What changes should be made? What needs to be modified? 

Before you hire a personal trainer, it is imperative to make sure that your personal trainer understands the physiological changes that occur with aging.

What to Consider When Hiring a Personal Trainer

Credentials

A personal trainer with a degree in exercise science or kinesiology means he/she may have more education and knowledge on the human body. This degree can come from any accredited college or university.

Additionally, most personal trainers have additional certifications through national organizations and may offer more expertise. The most well-known personal trainer certifications come from:

  • NSCA: National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • ACSM: American college of Sports Medicine
  • NASM: National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • ACE: American Council on Exercise
  • NPTI: National Personal Training Institute
  • ISSA: International Sports Sciences Association
  • CrossFit

It should be noted that there is no degree or certification that can guarantee excellence. There are plenty of incredible personal trainers out there without formal academic training and there are plenty of personal trainers out there with a laundry list of certifications after their name, that are complete duds. It’s ultimately up to you what you want to see in your personal trainer.

Expertise

Consider your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Do you want to get in shape and feel better about yourself? Do you want to run your first 5k? Do you want to take up power lifting? Do you want to continue to ski? Do you just want to avoid hurting your back again? Do you want to improve your balance to reduce your risk of falling? Do you want to be able to keep up with your grandkids?

The answers to these questions will help determine the type of personal trainer you’re looking for. You want to look for a personal trainer that has expertise in the area you want to train. Ask them questions!

Strength

Strength training is a crucial component of any exercise program, but especially for senior citizens. Strength training is even more important for older adults and senior citizens than it is for younger populations because it helps counteract age-related changes including loss of muscle mass and strength. If you want the holy grail for aging, strength training is it! 

Furthermore, a personal trainer for seniors should understand that workout progressions for older adults and senior citizens should prioritize gradual increases in intensity and volume. And when coaching older clients, it is important to maintain strict form and technique to minimize risk of injury, so your personal trainer needs to monitor your exercise performance to ensure your safety.

Flexibility

Flexibility decreases with age, so senior citizens may need to perform exercises in a smaller range of motion. A personal trainer for seniors should make necessary adjustments to your exercise to make sure you can perform them in a safe range.

Balance

A significant concern for older adults is the risk of falls and subsequent injuries. A personal trainer for seniors should include exercises that improve balance and coordination to reduce the risk of falls

For more information on balance training in seniors, view our article here (potential for future blog article).

Function

Older adults and seniors often have different goals, abilities, and limitations than younger adults or kids. A personal trainer for seniors should prioritize functional movements that enhance daily activities and promote independence.

Buzz Word…

What is Functional Movement?

Functional movement refers to movements you do regularly during your day – squatting, sitting down, standing up, going up and down stairs, reaching, etc. Functional training, then is doing exercises that look like the movements you do all the time. If you do a particular movement regularly and repetitively, it’s a good idea to train and do exercises that mimic those real-life tasks to improve your performance as well as minimize risk of injury.

Special Considerations

One of the biggest changes that occurs with aging is decreased bone mineral density. While loaded and weight-bearing exercises are imperative to help stave off any further loss of bone mineral density, certain older adults and senior citizens may not be able to handle heavy loads or high impact exercises.

For more information on the importance of weighted and impact-based exercises for osteoporosis, view our article here (potential for future blog article).

Your personal trainer should consider any existing medical condition you may have. Your personal trainer should be familiar with common conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Be sure to tell them about any health conditions or injuries you have so they can design the best program for you!

A Personal Trainer for Seniors @ Beyond The Gym

 

What do Beyond the Gym personal trainers offer to seniors ready to improve their quality of life? 

Beyond the Gym specializes in helping our members reach their fitness goals in the most effective and healthiest way possible! Physical therapists at both the Midtown and South Tulsa clinics work closely with our knowledgeable and experienced certified personal trainers at a private gym to provide a well-rounded treatment approach that helps patients return to their desired activities and reach their fullest potential. 

Our professional trainers develop a tailored plan to help members achieve their health and fitness goals safely while avoiding injury. Personal training for seniors will include: 

  • Mobility and flexibility exercises
  • Strength training
  • Balance and stability exercises
  • Exercise injury prevention tips
  • Personal wellness plans

If you are recovering from an injury or have certain health conditions that you are concerned about when it comes to starting a new workout program, we would love the opportunity to help you! If you are ready to live and move better, please contact us!

Conclusion

 
  • Exercise is especially important for older adults and seniors to combat age-related changes in health.
  • Hiring a personal trainer is a great investment in your own health!
  • A personal trainer for seniors should be familiar with age-related health changes and medical conditions and should modify workout programs accordingly.
  • If you are an older adult or senior citizen in the Tulsa area, contact Beyond the Gym for an exceptional personal training experience!

Author

  • Emily Berberich, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS

    Emily Berberich, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS is an orthopedic and sports medicine physical therapist. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Marquette University. As an ABPTS Board-Certified Sports Clinical Specialist, she strives to incorporate sports science, biomechanics, and strength and conditioning principles into rehabilitation to bridge the gap between recovery and performance. She also has additional certifications in nutrition and sleep, stress, and recovery management that she uses to provide an exceptional patient experience, facilitate comprehensive functional health & wellness, and help her patients and athletes perform at their best! Emily's goal is to return her patients to their sport better than they were before!

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