Because of the recognized value of exercise for older adults, senior fitness programs have been developed in various facilities throughout the United States and in many other countries. However, there appears to be a shortage of professionally trained senior fitness specialists to develop and instruct such programs. A number of professional health and fitness organizations/associations and individual entrepreneurs have developed training programs leading to some type of certification. However, because there are no published curriculum standards to guide the development of these training programs, they often lack components essential for teaching students how to instruct safe and effective classes for senior participants. Curriculum Standards to Prepare Senior Fitness Instructors, developed by a national coalition, were presented at the 1995 International Conference on Aging and Physical Activity in Colorado. This project was undertaken not to promote national certification or licensing but, rather, to help educators plan training programs. Input from the conferees was synthesized into the standards, which are provided in this paper.
C. Jessie Jones is with the Division of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, California State University. Fullerton, CA 92634. Janie Clark is with the American Senior Fitness Association, P.O. Box 2575, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170.
Editor’s Note: The Journal of Aging and Physical Activity in pleased to publish the following position paper entitled “National Curriculum Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors. ” This document was developed by a coalition of fitness professionals representing the following organizations: the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America: the Council on Aging and Adult Development of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, arid Dance; the American Council on Exercise: the Senior Fitness Association: the Ruby Gerontology Center of California State University at Fullerton; the Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research: and Desert Southwest Fitness.
The editorial board of JAPA recognizes the need to exchange information about standardizing curricular requirements for fitness instructors in the area of physical activity and aging. While we are pleased to publish the enclosed position paper, it is important to stress that the publication of these guidelines should in no way be considered an endorsement by the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. The editorial board of JAPA recognizes that a large number of professional organizations are involved in the preparation of exercise and fitness professionals. The National Coalition that produced these curriculum standards represents an important but by no means comprehensive subset of interested organizations. Accordingly, the enclosed standards should be considered as a preliminary document or a starting point for discussion. JAPA will be pleased to receive and disseminate responses to the enclosed guidelines. Individuals and/or organizations wishing to comment on the curriculum standards should address their correspondence to the editor.