This blog post was provided by the Medical Fitness Network.
There are 100 million baby boomers that make up about 30% of the U.S. population, and three-fourths of America’s wealth. These baby boomers are expected to live longer than previous generations and are the largest segment in our economy, seeking help for their aging bodies and spending money at “boomer levels.”
The demand for fitness professionals is expected to jump 13% in the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–15 edition. Additionally, the Handbook states, “As baby boomers age, many remain active to help prevent injuries and illnesses associated with aging.”
As this population ages, we are seeing a significant increase in obesity, chronic disease and individuals with multiple medical conditions. The number of aging individuals seeking fitness professionals is about to reach its tipping point. Among the many conditions a boomer client may face are joint replacements (often two or more), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and muscle loss.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 80% of older adults have one chronic medical condition, and 50% have two or more. Public health efforts to promote health and functional independence are critical strategies in helping older adults stay healthy and live independently. Regular physical activity is one globally accepted strategy to promote and preserve health.
Developing a plan for regular exercise can be difficult, and people with chronic medical conditions have an even greater challenge. A qualified fitness professional can be an essential partner in developing a progressive fitness program. Individuals with chronic medical conditions need to find a fitness professional who has specialty training and who understands their needs and limitations.
These clients, once thought of as the exception, are now becoming the norm, and they are seeking the best of the best from the fitness industry to serve them. Fitness professionals working with the aging population must have a higher level of knowledge, skill and expertise, and it’s this type of education that has the highest growth-earning potential.
The most valuable additions a fitness trainer can add to their career résumé are specialty certifications and CEUs that support treatment for those with medical conditions. Many education companies offer opportunities to work with our aging population and cover the medical conditions/diseases they face. Here are just a few companies: Cancer Exercise Training Institute, DSWFitness/Human Kinetics, Functional Aging Institute, Fitness Learning Systems, Geri-Fit and American Academy of Health & Fitness.
The fitness industry is a large benefactor of a longer-living active community. Taking courses that support those with medical conditions is an opportunity for a fitness trainer to enhance their career and position themselves as an established part of the healthcare team.