What do you think of when you hear “senior fitness”? For some personal trainers, the term might conjure images of gentle exercises performed in a noncompetitive environment. Yet many older athletic adults are not interested in mild “senior” movement, and plenty of them can—and want to—work out pretty intensely or for long durations.
Mere decades ago, it was unfathomable for baseball, football, soccer and basketball athletes to include strength and conditioning exercises in their training. Misinformation about what strength training would do (not for men and women, but to them) was pervasive then, and it persists to this day.
Think back to a recent time when you left a yoga class and felt joyfully transformed. Maybe the teacher had great auditory and visual cues. Maybe he or she made you feel safe and supported, allowing you to explore poses in deeper and more rewarding ways than you would have been able to on your own. A well-balanced yoga teacher connects with all types of learners—auditory, visual and kinesthetic. The most fulfilling classes happen when the teacher successfully blends all three teaching modalities.
Instructors, it’s time to take your core work off the floor. There are many fantastic ground-bound exercises that target the core—and you should definitely keep them! However, if you learn how to “sneak” in core work while standing, every workout has the potential to enhance participants’ strength, power and functionality.
As instructors, we like helping our students achieve the best results possible. In today’s busy world, people want better results in less workout time. The high-intensity interval training philosophy caters to this need. HIIT features short, intense cardiovascular exercises that improve athletic conditioning and many other markers of health and wellness. I call the HITT workout provided here the “Trainer’s Triple Threat,” or Triple T.
Numerous high-intensity interval training research studies have explored jogging, running and cycling for exercise. Walking programs may be readily developed based on the findings of these studies.
The programs below adapt the intensity of intervals for walking, using guidance from the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. All five of these HIIT examples draw on research-based interval programs, but personal trainers should modify them according to the fitness level of the individual.
Do you want to revitalize the core sections of your classes? Training the core is fundamental to any program. Why not add new “twists” using fundamental, but often underused, equipment? Medicine balls have been around for years and are a staple in boxing and sports performance communities, as well as many fitness facilities. If you’re struggling to find new ways to incorporate medicine balls into your group classes (besides Russian twists), check out these variations.
I’ve worked with many clients with type 2 diabetes, ranging in age from 30 to 85 years old. Even though age and ability are different in each case, the challenge remains the same: Develop a safe and effective program that will be vigorous enough to improve muscle strength and provide cardiovascular benefit without inducing complications from the diabetes.
As a group fitness instructor, you already know the value of a warm-up and how it decreases injury risk and improves performance. Recently, our collective vernacular has expanded to include movement preparation (prep) and/or tissue prep as interchangeable terms for warm-up.
Since many schools no longer offer physical education, a lot of fitness professionals are volunteering their time before and after school. This is a great (and needed) community service, but unless you have experience working with kids aged 7–11, you may not be fully prepared for the challenge of corralling them for a cool-down. When kids are having fun, they don’t want to stop, listen and be quiet. The transition from a workout to a cool-down can be tough. That’s why you need a plan.
The following activities offer many creative ways to rein in kids.