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"Working out and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is not a panacea for aging, but it does help make the trip to our golden years a much more enjoyable ride."
~Bob Benitez, CPT
As the youth of the 1950s and 60s become the newest senior citizens on the block, it’s important that they commit to regular physically activity. Many people who grew up during these decades did not have a gym on every block like we do now, and regularly going to the gym was not quite as popular. The fitness industry was in its infancy and growing into the 80 billion dollar industry it is today. People used to be much more active outdoors and stayed healthy due to active careers and home life. Plus internet, social media, and video games didn’t plague their time.
Due to those lifestyle differences, sometimes convincing today’s seniors that going to the gym to work out is important proves to be difficult. It could be intimidation or just not seeing the need.
In an interview with Bob Benitez, Certified Personal Trainer and 20 year vet, mentor, and coach in the fitness industry, he discussed the importance of fitness for people who are of a certain age. If you are a senior citizen reading this or you are trying to convince a loved one that the gym is worthwhile, this article highlights all the ways fitness can enhance the quality of life for those who are 50 and over and how gym atmospheres have changed to include today’s seniors.
Make The Gym Meet Your Needs: Because Your Needs Are Different As You Age
Benitez dedicates much of his time to training clients who are 45, not technically seniors, and over to ensure their needs are met in the gym. As people age, their bodies change, and their mindset is more mature. Fitness is not really about vanity anymore. Instead it’s about maintaining health. An older adult will feel more “at home” in the gym if they seek out a gym and trainer that are prepared to meet their needs:
"While I can easily work with a younger population, older adults have just as much, if not a greater need, for PTs. Aside from the obvious biological changes to the body, there’s a psychological piece, and to me, that’s a bigger challenge to overcome than the physical challenge."
Find A Trainer You Connect With
A youthful personal trainer who has never had an ache or pain in their life may not understand your physical or medical needs unless they have a certification in senior fitness. However, a trainer who has more life experience and who is also of a certain age may have experienced high blood pressure, a weight loss journey for medical reasons, nerve problems, joint pain, or many other types of physical ailments that accompany aging.
When a trainer understands your medical issues they can personally relate to you and understand any limitations that you may need to overcome. This type of connection is what Benitez is talking about. He states,
“Simply giving older clients the knowing and empathetic acknowledgement is huge and goes a long way to establishing rapport that’s vital to a successful PT/client relationship.”
That PT/client connection will keep you returning to the gym. It’s almost a feeling of, “He did it, and so can I!” All you have to do is seek out the “Bob Benitez” that works in your local gym. There are other trainers like him in every city that want to work with you!
Locate a gym that works with the SilverSneakers Program. SilverSneakers is a fitness program provided through thousands of health care plans nationwide to make getting and staying fit affordable. SilverSneakers provides access to gyms, fitness classes led by certified instructors, and sponsored social activities all geared toward senior health and wellness. To find out which gyms participate and whether or not you qualify, visit their website. The links are included at the end of the article.