8 tips for choosing the right gym trainer


February 16, 2011

Many baby boomers are determined to stay healthy in their old age. Exercise is a key to the golden years, especially because experts suggest that it can reduce the likelihood of an at-home injury such as a fall.

The first step toward any successful exercise program is deciding on what kind of trainer one wants. AARP.org suggests that one should ask about the following subjects before taking classes with any professional:

1. Certification. There are many institutes that can certify a trainer, and some offer specializations. Try to find a professional who has worked with older gym-goers before.

2. Insurance. Facilities often provide liability insurance in case a participant suffers a health condition due to a class or piece of equipment. Independent trainers should also offer some form of coverage.

3. Good, enthusiastic example. Trainers should be in good health themselves, as proof they they know what they're doing. Not only that, they should help one maintain excitement for the classes and offer positive feedback.

4. Specialized Program. A 63-year-old who hasn't exercised in years has different requirements than a marathon-running 20-year-old. The class that boomers take should be comfortable for their level of physical fitness and work to accommodate their individual needs. One should work toward goals of higher fitness in careful increments.

5. References. If one is still on the fence about the trainer, just ask for references or talk to someone who has taken a class with the expert before. This can shed light on the specifics of the exercise sessions that may otherwise be difficult to learn.

6. Medical Conditions. The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) recommends that older fitness enthusiasts should also notify trainers of their specific medical conditions – whether it's back pain or a heart issue.

7. Business Practices. Additionally, the ICAA suggests looking into the expenses and payment that the trainer offers. This can give one some idea of what to expect in the future.

8. Personal Emergency Response System. Independent boomers may want to install this device in their home as well, so that if an injury or medical problem occurs during a work-out, they can send an instant medical alert to doctors.

Baby boomers who are looking to get in shape for their golden years are lucky, because many fitness experts are starting to create specific regimens just for them.

"Adults over 55 are… driving employment for personal trainers in programs that appeal to active retirees," Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Aging, said in a statement.

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