According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 23 percent of all U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise per week. That’s 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, plus two bouts of muscle-strengthening exercise.
That being said, how many Americans gave a sigh of relief knowing that they didn’t have to come up with an excuse for not going to the gym during the Coronavirus pandemic? It’s a sad fact that the majority of children and adults are sedentary, have poor nutritional habits, don’t get enough sleep, and have a high level of stress. Study after study has shown how these elements contribute to a poorly functioning immune system and “Dis-Ease,” yet 75% of the population don’t seem to be swayed.
We have seen the fitness industry take a turn toward streaming fitness classes, Zoom training, FaceTime consultations etc. Across the country gyms will slowly begin to open their doors to their members, but how many of them will feel safe being around other people and how many will have gotten used to online workouts and interactive training?
The fitness industry will have to re-evaluate the way business is conducted in an effort to accommodate new and growing fears of becoming ill as well as embrace the growing need for medical exercise specialists to cater to the needs of an aging population. The Baby Boomer population needs to have specially trained group fitness instructors and personal trainers to safely put them through an exercise routine.
Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) is a global health initiative that focuses on encouraging primary care physicians and other health-care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated treatment recommendations as part of every patient visit, and referring their patients to exercise professionals. In addition, EIM recognizes fitness professionals as part of the health-care team in their local communities. According to a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, EIM was the no. 7 trend in 2017, no. 12 in 2018, no. 10 in 2019, and jumping to no. 6 in 2020.
In addition, they emphasize the fitness needs of the Baby Boomers and older generations. These individuals in general have more discretionary money than their younger counterparts do, and fitness clubs may be able to capitalize on this growing market. People are living longer, working longer, and remaining healthy and active much longer. This trend is making a strong return after being in the top 10 since 2007 (when it was the no. 2 trend) and dropping to no. 11 in 2017. It was the no. 9 trend in 2018 and no. 4 in 2019.
As a gym or studio owner or independent personal trainer, you may consider using the remainder of your downtime to reinvent yourself. Take to social media and offer free webinars or write articles about the benefits of exercise and proper diet in the prevention and management of disease. This is a prime opportunity, while you have a captive audience, to make a name for yourself and establish yourself as the local expert in senior fitness, oncology exercise, diabetes prevention and management, etc. Organizations like the Cancer Exercise Training Institute, IDEA, TRX, etc. are offering premium courses at incredible discounts. Use this time to add to your individual credentials, or if you are a gym or studio owner, consider adding a variety of new disease-specific class offerings.
You have the opportunity to fill a huge need that is currently unmet and to position yourself as the next step in the healthcare continuum. Need = Opportunity.
People are scared of getting Coronavirus, they are scared of dying; especially the aging population. They know they need to exercise to stay healthy and be able to continue to do the activities that make life worth living, but are they willing to risk their lives to go into a gym or studio? What precautions are you going to put in place to ensure the safety of your members or clients.
There is a tremendous opportunity for you right her, right now. Be the innovators by hiring exceptional trainers skilled in various medical fitness areas (or incentify the trainers that you have to get certified in these areas). Take your group classes and modify them to cater to the needs of special populations (stroke, cardiac-rehab, cancer recovery, Alzheimers/dementia, diabetes, etc.).
MedFit offers a membership to medical fitness professionals that allows them to create a marketing page and directory listing so that individuals with special needs can locate a specialized trainer in their geographical area. The Cancer Exercise Training Institute provides a directory to highlight those who have completed their Cancer Exercise Specialist Advanced Qualification all over the world. These organizations realize the need and demand for this type of specialized training and are working with allied fitness and health professionals to help send a message worldwide. Accor/Fairmont hotels and resorts have embraced the concept and are having their spa and fitness staff trained to become cancer Exercise Specialists and Wellness for Cancer Certified. They realize the need to offer a safe haven where cancer patients can visit and not be treated as a “Cancer Patient,” but as a valued guest that just happens to be fighting cancer. They are truly pioneers in the spa and fitness industry!
I started in the fitness industry in 1984. Dressed in spandex, leg-warmers, K-Swiss sneakers and a headband. I instructed members how to use the circuit, regardless of their health history. The gym was full of chrome and neon lights and no one really had a clue what they were doing. In 1992 I became a personal trainer and over the past 28 years have seen fads come and go, newly contraindicated exercises, and those that were previously contraindicated re-adapted as safe. Among all the confusion and contradictions, one thing remains certain, we are all aging and our quality of life as well as our life-expectancy is greatly affected by our lifestyle habits.
Not only does exercise play a critical role in managing the adverse side-effects of treatment for many diseases, it can actually increase both the quality of their life as well as life expectancy. Isn’t it time that we as an industry look beyond the superficial aspects of fitness and focus on changing lives on a deeper and more meaningful level (beautiful people get sick too).
If you are interested in becoming a Functional Aging Specialist, Cancer Exercise Specialist, and Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU(R) Specialist, CETI has an amazing offer through the end of April. Save 30% on this amazing bundle.