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Functional ageing can help adults to move more, eat well, drink less and be smoke free.

This month, Public Health England (PHE) launched the One You campaign to give people the chance to reappraise their lifestyle choices and do something about their own health before it’s too late.

It’s clear there has never been a better time for fit pros and operators to gain the skills necessary to attract clients aged 40 and above. Currently, 15 million Britons are living with a long-term health condition, yet studies show living healthily in middle age can double your chances of being healthy at 70.

Functional ageing is the key to training older clients more effectively in order to maximise their functional longevity. Cody Sipe, the industry’s leading fitness professional in this field, is running a pre-con event dedicated to this subject at FitPro LIVE 2016 – Functional Ageing Training.

But Sipe has some words of warning for fit pros: “Treating older adults as one group, and therefore training them all the same, is one of the biggest mistakes a trainer can make. The ageing process does not affect everyone the same way and is contingent upon many factors, such as genetics, chronic disease conditions and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, etc.).” 

He continues, “When personal trainers don’t differentiate between clients in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s and use the same programme for them all, the result is a routine that shifts erratically between safe and unsafe, effective and ineffective.”

Conversely, training at the other end of the spectrum can be equally problematic, adds Sipe: “Trainers who worry so much about injuring a mature client that they play it extremely safe provide a virtually ineffective programme.”

Sipe’s Functional Ageing Training workshop teaches fitness professionals how to train older clients more effectively in order to maximise what is most important to them: their functional longevity. Many specialised training methods can be advantageous for older clients but they can also be potentially harmful if their unique needs are not taken into consideration. For example, it’s important to know when to modify or eliminate a particular movement or pose. For fitness professionals trained in Pilates, yoga, kettlebells, CrossFit, martial arts, boot camp, sandbags, free weights or bodyweight, this course demonstrates how to use these methods in a safer and more effective manner with older clientele.

Through Sipe’s Functional Ageing Training model, delegates will better understand the diverse needs of this client group and how to develop programmes that meet these needs. This model will be applied to one-to-one, small group personal training and large group environments. All delegates receive complete access to the online Functional Ageing Specialist programme, including the certification exam as a bonus.

The Functional Ageing Institute (FAI) will be looking for potential master trainers to support its growth in the UK, so here is your chance to develop your skills and create a new career path for yourself. If you are interested, please contact with your current CV, detailing any relevant experience.

Learn more about Cody’s FitPro LIVE sessions by clicking here.

About the Author

Dr Cody Sipe

Functional Ageing Specialist

Cody Sipe, PhD, is a respected authority on fitness for older adults with 25 years in the industry. He is a professor, researcher, international educator and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute. Cody is currently an associate professor and director of clinical research in the doctoral physical therapy program at Harding University. He was recognized as the IDEA Program Director of the Year in 2005 and was a finalist for the IDEA Fitness Innovator of the Year award in 2019.

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