geriatrics\ ˌjer-ē-ˈa-triks , ˌjir-\ : a branch of medicine that deals with the problems and diseases of old age and the medical care and treatment of aging people.
What does the word geriatric mean to you? Oftentimes, it comes with a negative connotation. It’s time to change the perception of this word in the fitness industry.
In the medical fitness space, we seek to align with doctors and health professionals.
Geriatric medicine physicians (Geriatricians) work to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities. To a great degree, this includes improving functional abilities and independence in their activities of daily living. With the rapid growth of the older population in the US, the demand for geriatric medicine is higher than ever.
Physicians specializing in geriatric medicine work closely with interdisciplinary teams, including physical therapists and fitness professionals, to implement care plans that will improve quality of life. This is where a properly educated fitness professional can enter, collaborate with doctors and make a huge impact in the lives of this population.
Senior Fitness vs. Geriatric Fitness
Senior fitness is popular in the fitness industry and many organizations offer education for working with seniors — but it’s primarily focused on seniors who are “generally healthy”. Senior fitness is centered on preventative measures to maintain existing health as a person ages.
But not all seniors fall into this category. In fact, most do not. Geriatric fitness is for those who are not healthy, who need guidance with fitness and lifestyle changes to improve degraded function so they can perform activities of daily living and be independent.
Specializing in geriatric fitness allows you to reach a huge market (there are over 70 million baby boomers with 10,000 people reaching age 65 daily!), but you’ll also find it to be a fulfilling part of your career. You’ll find creating programming for this group intellectually stimulating and challenging. You’ll also find it emotionally rewarding — helping geriatric clients make small improvements in their health will have an enormous impact on their quality of life, independence and well-being.
You’ll also offer peace of mind to caregivers — often adult children — as they are frequently the ones seeking an educated fitness professional to help their aging parent.
It’s time to see the word geriatric in a new, positive light. A personal trainer specializing in geriatric fitness is helping a senior maintain independence, prevent life-threatening falls and manage chronic health conditions to live their highest quality of life through their golden years.
Become a Geriatric Fitness and Lifestyle Specialist
Align yourself with the medical community and become a Geriatric Fitness and Lifestyle Specialist! Check out MedFit Classroom’s first of its kind online course for fitness professionals.