How a Personal Trainer Can Benefit Older Adults

Tim Watt  |  June 30, 2014

Physical fitness is one of the most important factors to consider when maintaining a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Not only can exercise help boost cognitive and cardiovascular health, but it can elevate mood, decrease stress and improve confidence as well. While the benefits of this activity cannot be denied, some people may not understand which exercises are best for their form, or they may be reluctant to join a gym on their own.

Enlisting the assistance of a personal trainer is one of the best ways for older adults to ensure they're not only getting the proper amount of daily exercise, but also meeting achievable benchmarks, focusing on target areas with precision and using equipment correctly. 

The advantages of a personal trainer
Personal trainers can help seniors with specific goals, whether they're looking to merely improve their overall physical health or build muscle strength. While older adults can visit a gym by themselves or perform activities in their own retirement communities, a personal trainer can help provide tangible, realistic goals for seniors' fitness programs. Additionally, these individuals are very knowledgeable - since they are experts in their fields, they can monitor progress and ensure seniors are exercising safely and using materials properly, thus decreasing their chances of getting injured.

There are a variety of personal trainers available for seniors. Prior to hiring someone, older adults should examine which type of professional is best suited to meet their needs. Some trainers, for example, make house calls. These workers will visit senior communities and work with adults who prefer to work out privately or who do not wish to frequently travel to a gym. These trainers can work with individuals or hold group sessions for seniors who wish to work out with their friends.

Alternatively, there are trainers who work at recreational facilities or public gyms. These individuals are equally as capable of training with seniors, but they will be able to help seniors use the expansive range of equipment offered at these sites.

No matter which trainer seniors prefer to work with, these individuals can offer a customized plan for older adults that takes into account their age, physical capabilities, preferences and personal goals. They can recommend certain stretches or exercises, as trainers specialized in senior care have an extensive knowledge of aging bodies and how they best react to physical activity. 

97-year-old woman sees success on Instagram
While a large number of seniors have used personal trainers to enhance their workout experience, one 97-year-old woman has garnered an impressive following on the image-sharing site Instagram for her exercise regime. She may not have her own account, but Edna from Arizona frequently appears on the accounts of her personal trainers. According to TODAY, the 97-year-old works with a set of personal trainers twice each week, participating in a range of physical activities. John Neel, the owner of the fitness center that Edna frequents, explained to the source that she has been training with him for nearly 10 years, hardly ever missing an appointment. He added that her motivation has been integral for inspiring gym goers of all ages.

Caitlin Turner, one trainer who works with Edna, posted a video of the woman performing squats with her. Currently, the post has more than 12,500 likes and 900 comments. Additional pictures and videos show the senior working with professionals to do sit-ups, side steps and stretches. According to The Huffington Post, Edna expressed to Turner that she was grateful for the assistance of her trainers, saying that the key to healthy living is to "never let yourself get weak." 

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