Are you thinking of a career working with older adults? Maybe you are considering a pivot toward training or teaching fitness classes geared toward active agers? Working with the 65 and older population is both challenging and rewarding, and it just might be the boost you need to improve your skill set and bring your business to the next level.
It’s no secret that the world’s population is getting older. This age wave is creating wide-ranging opportunities for health and exercise professionals who have a functional knowledge and expertise in aging and its impact on well-being.
1. Opportunities – Job Demand
By 2030, the youngest of the baby boomers will reach the age of 65. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this will expand the size of the older population, making 1 in every 5 residents in the U.S. of retirement age. This boom in the 65+ population comes with growing economic power. In other words, active agers are a fast-growing demographic with the means and desire to afford your services.
Additionally, older adults are embracing technology to stay informed, connect with family members and friends, visit their physicians, and to shop and play. Recent national data presented by Pew Research indicates that more than 70% of seniors are connected to the Internet, with younger, relatively affluent or more highly educated seniors driving much of the recent growth in the wide-spread adoption of technology. The acceptance and utilization of smartphones, tablets and computers opens the door to new opportunities to engage older adults in virtual personal training, group exercise and coaching.
2. Impact – Job Satisfaction
Loss of health is one of the greatest sources of concern for seniors, and older adults are looking to increase their health span, not just their life span. The first Baby Boomers reached the age of 65 in 2011. Since that time, there has been a rapid increase in the size of this demographic. Compared to previous generations, Baby Boomers are more active and focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They understand that maintaining optimal health is the key to aging successfully and aging well.
The impact you can make working with older adults goes beyond appearance-related goals. You have the opportunity to help them improve their quality of life as you create programming that brings better function and mobility, while decreasing the risk of chronic diseases of inactivity. You can partner with your clients to keep them strong and independent well into the future. Helping active agers live their healthiest life can bring you job satisfaction and personal fulfillment as you provide the inspiration it takes to meet and exceed the fitness and wellness goals of this age group.
3. Personal Growth – Upgrade Your Skill Set
Developing programming that creates improved balance, greater strength, flexibility and mobility, enhanced cardiovascular endurance and better cognitive health is the key to supporting healthy aging. To meet the needs of this diverse demographic, you may consider upgrading your current skill set. The most effective and successful health and exercise professionals specializing in older adult fitness have a high level of expertise in both aging and function. They understand how to guide older adults toward strength, mobility, cardiovascular and balance gains in a safe and effective manner.
Health and exercise professionals who work with active agers must cultivate a high level of competency in both verbal and non-verbal cuing. Simple and precise verbiage combined with clear visual direction creates effective and safe programming for a population that may be experiencing hearing loss and reductions in visual acuity. Gaining an understanding of some of the important issues that surround aging, such as joint replacement, brain health and increased chronic disease risk, will make you a valuable asset to older adults as they seek professionals with the expertise to help them live their best lives.
As a qualified and caring health and exercise professional, you can thrive in your career as you guide older adults toward improved health and function, providing them with opportunities to enjoy optimal wellness for years to come. You may just find that working with older adults provides the personal and career fulfilment you need to move to the next level, increasing your value and your client opportunities.
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