Are you thinking of starting an exercise program for the New Year? Do you think not exercising is bad for your health? In some cases, exercise can do more damage to your health than not exercising at all. High-risk individuals – seniors, the obese and chronic pain sufferers – are gambling with their health by simply walking into a fitness facility and beginning a training program without proper assessment, guidance and training.
Special needs clients require special programs. Highly individualized programs designed by professionals with specialized, advanced training. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know the difference between a personal trainer with an Internet certification and one with advanced degrees and multiple nationally recognized certifications. And here is where the danger lies for the seniors, sedentary and suffering. Internet certifications and weekend workshops that turn accountants into personal trainers could kill this high-risk group. As more and more individuals with special needs seek the help of fitness professionals, they should literally be scared for their life.
A “One size fits all” approach shouldn’t apply to anyone looking for an exercise program, especially not those in high-risk categories. They require more comprehensive assessments, more individualized program design and a professional with an extensive knowledge of specific risk factors and limitations associated with their condition. Only then can this population progress safely and effectively.
Big fitness chains and franchises often don’t have fitness professionals with the necessary training to adequately train someone outside the prescribed “norm.” Instead, those with specialized training are more likely to be found in smaller, private studios better equipped to supervise clients and closely monitor workouts without losing clients in a sea of club members.
Need some ideas on the best questions to ask a potential trainer? You can download a PDF that I’ve prepared that will assist you in making the right choice.
Best of luck for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008!