Training special populations is one of the fastest-growing segments of the personal training industry.
A special population refers to particular groups of people with special fitness and exercise needs and typically requires a greater level of supervision. This group includes those with diseases like heart disease, diabetes and other prevalent diseases and extends to those with injuries and specific situations like pregnancy, postpartum, seniors, etc.
Training Special Populations
Treating and working with individuals with specific medical or physical issues typically fall into the category of “Special Populations.”
Issues include chronic diseases such as asthma and hypertension or it may be a disability such as amputation or spinal cord injury.
Sometimes, people are considered part of a special population due to a transient condition such as pregnancy or childhood. There are instances when individuals may belong to multiple groups and consequently, designing exercise programs for these people takes an individualized approach as each person will have their own set of specific needs.
Generally, our society places a much greater emphasis on curing diseases. Those with a chronic disease that don’t have any current opportunities for a cure are often shuffled away from restorative opportunities. Health insurance programs lack coverage for palliative treatment resulting in decreased opportunities for these individuals to participate in programs that preserve function and improve well-being.
One of the challenges is that many people fit multiple categories of dysfunction and there is no empirical evidence on specific dose type and duration of the exercise.
Utilizing an Assessment for Special Populations
As such, utilizing a problem-oriented perspective provides a framework to design an individualized exercise program. The foundation of a problem-oriented approach is conducting an initial assessment that includes specific, realistic client goals, a thorough health history, and multi-systems exercise testing.
Information gathered from the initial assessment will provide a framework to develop an appropriate exercise/training program that is specific to the individual and their unique needs. The formulation of the program or plan must take into account the effect that medication may have on exercise; exercise dose-response; risks of training; cost-benefit ratio and the necessary coordination among members of the healthcare team.
Getting Started with a Personal Training Career
You can learn more about training Special Populations when you enroll in the Personal Fitness Trainer course.
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