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International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults


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TRAINING MODULE 1:
OVERVIEW OF AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Recommended areas of study include general background information about the aging process and the benefits of an active lifestyle.


Suggested Topics



  1. Demographic considerations (e.g., ethnicity, culture, gender) as they relate to individual participation in physical activity programs

  2. Various definitions of aging (including pathological, usual, and successful aging)

  3. The difference between the terms chronological, biological, and functional aging

  4. The benefits of physical activity as it relates to the multiple dimensions of wellness (e.g., intellectual, emotional, physical, vocational, social, spiritual) and the prevention of chronic medical conditions, health promotion, and quality of life throughout the lifespan

  5. Current research and epidemiology related to health and physical activity


TRAINING MODULE 2:
PHYSCOLOGICAL, SOCIOCULTURAL, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND OLDER ADULTS
Recommended areas of study include psychological, sociocultural, and physiological aspects of physical activity in order to develop safe and effective physical activity and exercise programs for older adults.


Suggested Topics



  1. Exercise science: Basic anatomy, physiology, neurology, motor learning and control, and exercise psychology

  2. Myths, stereotypes, and barriers associated with aging and physical activity participation in later life

  3. Predictors of successful aging (e.g., biological, psychological, and sociological theories of aging, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices)

  4. The relationship between physical activity and psychosocial well-being

  5. Age-associated physiological and biomechanical changes in multiple body systems (e.g., cardiovascular and respiratory systems, musculoskeletal system, and central nervous system) and how these changes affect functional mobility and independence


TRAINING MODULE 3:
SCREENING, ASSESSMENT, AND GOAL SETTING
Recommended areas of study include information on selection, administration, and interpretation of pre-exercise health and activity screening and fitness and mobility assessments appropriate for older adults. This information will provide the basis for exercise program design and appropriate referrals to other health professionals.


Suggested Topics



  1. Guidelines and procedures for the selection, administration, and interpretation of screening tools to determine the health, physical activity, and disability status of older adult participants

  2. Health, activity, and other lifestyle appraisals, including identification risk factors for falls and cardiovascular complications

  3. How and when to make appropriate referrals to, or seek advice from, physicians and other qualified allied health and fitness professionals

  4. Physiological and functional fitness assessments (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, body mass index, and field tests for strength, flexibility, submaximal endurance, and functional mobility such as balance, agility, gait, coordination, and power)

  5. Psychological (e.g., self-efficacy, depression) and sociological (e.g., social support) assessments6. For homebound or institutionalized older adults, assessments of functional abilities (e.g., mobility, grooming, dressing, toileting) with input from caregivers. It is further recommended that training programs include information on establishing, with client input, realistic and measurable short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals


Suggested Topics



  1. Factors influencing physical activity participation among older adults, including barriers, motivators, regular involvement in physical activity, and behavior modification

  2. Developing, monitoring, and modifying short-term and long-term activity goals based on results from screening and assessments and input from the participants and caregivers if appropriate

  3. Importance of encouraging lifetime leisure physical activities (e.g., dancing, gardening, hiking, tennis, swimming) in addition to structured exercise programs


TRAINING MODULE 4:
PROGRAM DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT
Recommended areas of study include information about using results from screening, assessment, and client goals to make appropriate decisions regarding individual and group physical activity and exercise program design and management.


Suggested Topics



  1. Interpretation of prescreening and assessment data, and consideration of client goals, for effective program development

  2. Exercise variables (e.g., mode, frequency, duration, intensity) and principles (i.e., overload, functional relevance, challenge, accommodation) for program design in both individual and group settings

  3. Exercise training components and methods, including warm-up and cool-down, flexibility, resistance, aerobic endurance, balance and mobility, mind-body exercise, and aquatics for program design in both individual and group settings

  4. Applied movement analysis for proper selection and implementation of specific exercises

  5. Training formats and session designs for various functional abilities and individual and group exercise sequencing for exercise programming

  6. Economic considerations and consequent options for equipment (e.g., quality for cost, safety, and age-friendliness)

  7. Importance of making healthy lifestyle choices (e.g., proper nutrition, stress management, and smoking cessation)

  8. An organizational system for participant recruitment, tracking exercise compliance, and maintaining other client information

  9. Methods for client reassessment and program


TRAINING MODULE 5:
PROGRAM DESIGN FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH STABLE MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Recommended areas of study include information on common medical conditions of older adults, signs and symptoms associated with medication-related negative interactions during activity and how to adapt exercise for clients with varying fitness levels, and stable medical conditions to help prevent injury and other emergency situations.


Suggested Topics



  1. Age-related medical conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, respiratory disorders, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, diabetes, balance and motor control deficits, visual and hearing disorders, dementia, and urinary incontinence)

  2. How to adapt group and individual exercise programs to accommodate for age-related medical conditions and for people who have experienced falls, operations, and illness

  3. How to adapt group and individual exercise programs to accommodate for prosthetics (e.g., artificial hips, knees, legs)

  4. How to design programs for preventive health (e.g., exercises to reduce risk of falling, control diabetes, heart disease)

  5. Recognizing signs and symptoms associated with medication-related negative interactions during physical activity (e.g. postural hypotension, arrhythmias, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, balance and coordination problems, altered depth perception, depression, confusion, dehydration, and urinary incontinence) and refer back to health professional


TRAINING MODULE 6:
TEACHING SKILLS
Recommended areas of study include information about motor learning principles that guide the selection and delivery of effective individualized and group exercises and physical activities, and the construction of safe and effective practice environments.


Suggested Topics



  1. Application of motor learning principles for proper client instruction, verbal cues, feedback, and reinforcement

  2. Structure of the learning environment to facilitate optimal learning of motor skills

  3. Development of safe, friendly, and fun exercise and physical activity environments (e.g., appropriate use of humor, special equipment, creative movements, music, novelty, and props)

  4. Issues facing older adults that may affect motivation (e.g., depression, social isolation, learned helplessness, low self-efficacy)

  5. Development of lesson plans and elements of instruction

  6. Methods for self-evaluation of teaching effectiveness

  7. Monitoring and adjustment of exercise variables (e.g., frequency, intensity, duration, mode)


TRAINING MODULE 7:
LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION, AND MARKETING SKILLS
Recommended areas of study include information on incorporating effective motivational, communication, and leadership skills related to teaching individual and group exercise classes as well as professional leadership skills, and how to create effective marketing tools for program and self.


Suggested Topics



  1. Principles of individual and group dynamics in structured exercise settings

  2. Translation of technical terminology into client-friendly language

  3. Incorporating leadership skills into personal training and group physical activity classes to enhance teaching effectiveness and client satisfaction

  4. Application of positive interpersonal interaction behaviors to work with a heterogeneous older adult population (e.g., gender, ethnicity, education level) in both group and individual exercise settings

  5. Listening skills and reception to participants' feedback

  6. Development of social support strategies (e.g., buddy system, telephone support)

  7. Development of effective, age-friendly marketing strategies and tools of program and self, and methods of delivering the "right" message


TRAINING MODULE 8:
CLIENT SAFETY AND FIRST AID
Recommended areas of study include information on developing a risk-management plan to promote a safe exercise environment and respond to emergency situations.


Suggested Topics



  1. Signs that indicate need for immediate exercise cessation or immediate medical consultation

  2. Appropriate response to emergency situations such as would be covered in standard first-aid and CPR classes (e.g., cardiac arrest; airway obstruction; emergencies requiring rescue breathing; heat and cold-related injuries; musculoskeletal injuries including strains, sprains, and fractures; diabetic emergencies; bleeding; falls; seizures; and shock)

  3. Establishment of an emergency action plan4. Identification of a safe and age-friendly exercise environment (e.g., working conditions of equipment, accessibility, ventilation, lighting, floor surfaces, proper footwear, access to water and washroom facilities) and precautions for environmental extremes (e.g., high or low temperatures and excessive humidity)


TRAINING MODULE 9:
ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Recommended areas of study include information on legal, ethical, and professional conduct.


Suggested Topics



  1. Legal issues related to delivering physical activity programs to older adults, including legal concepts and terminology

  2. Issues related to lawsuits, including scope of practice, industry standards, and negligence and types of applicable insurance coverage

  3. Ethical standards and personal conduct and scope of practice for physical activity instructors of older adults 

  4. Accessing resources for the enhancement of professional skills (e.g., position stands, ethical practices, professional practice guidelines consistent with the standards of care)

  5. Methods of continuing education to enhance one's professional skills





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Related Topics


Instruction and Programming for Older Adults


Articles and Links


Confidence and positive attitude help older adults stick with exercise
To develop effective older adult physical activity interventions, it is important to understand factors that predict participation and adherence.


Documents


National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors (pdf)
download now
JAPA Article- 1998 National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors
The International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors for Older Adults (pdf)
download now
The International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors for Older Adults


Featured Products


Exercise and Wellness for Older Adults 2nd Edition eBook
€29.90
Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults
€70.20

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