Five years ago, a rising public health consciousness inspired consumers to take control of their health by seeking alternative and preventative forms of medicine to combat non-communicable diseases (obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer and osteoporosis). As a result of this shift, fitness facilities, especially those with medical affiliations, will prove to be an important component of the healthcare continuum.
As industry standards continue to rise, personal trainers and group exercise instructors have a responsibility to further their knowledge, practical skill sets and specialties through continuing education. While all nationally accredited certifying organizations mandate the pursuit of continual education as a means to ensure the safety and well-being of the public, continuing education courses aid not only in competency, but professional development as well.
A personal training or group exercise certification is a great starting point, a foundational block upon which to build a career. But, in terms of career longevity, specialization is key. Continuing education courses can help fitness professionals determine the areas in which they wish to specialize in: youth fitness, active older adults, sports specific, performance, mind-body, cardiac rehabilitation, corrective exercise and so forth.
As leaders it is our responsibility to encourage professional development, assisting where we can. For example, as hospital-affiliated clubs, Tilton Fitness & Wellness consistently leans on the medical professionals we partner with to provide our training staff with complimentary clinical workshops. These workshops give our trainers hands-on experience working with clients suffering from low-back pain, arthritis, shoulder injuries and more.
Continuing education is a great way to differentiate services within a diverse market, solidify professional credibility, increase profitability and maintain industry standards — standards that are rapidly changing as we work to bridge the gap between the healthcare system and the fitness industry.