The Value of Group Fitness as We Age
My journey working with older adults began after my relocation from South Africa to Canada. I was presented with the opportunity to certify as a Functional Aging Specialist and work in the Bootcamp franchise with the focus on what was called the Super 60 Program. As most of you know the Bootcamp structure is based on 30-minute HITT style classes. The classes are modified at all levels to allow each member to perform at their desired intensity and functional capability.
My personal experience had been as a teacher in both the junior and senior phases for 35 years. I had also been a professional triathlete, and international participant in multi sport disciplines at World Championship level. With all this experience I was now in a coaching role, constantly challenged by this demographic and finding every interaction with them presenting a new level of understanding and respect.
What do they bring to group fitness from my perspective? Lifelong experience, daily challenges mental challenges, physical challenges at every level. They are highly driven, fun, sometimes demanding. They have a deep caring for one another as well as amazing appreciation for one another.
This group grew from year to year and so did the bond between them as a group and me as their coach. I have been so passionate about their growth and their development. Some with great strength and others with limitations, so I wanted to share what this journey has meant in their lives from their perspective.
As one member quoted, “We Started together, we moved together, and we have stayed together. We currently work out of a unique Boutique, Compass Performance Studios, Compass Dance and Compass Fitness under one banner, bringing together youthful dances and general classes and the Forever Fit classes.
‘Why they started and the What keeps them continuing’!
I will profile them daily in the hopes that more older adults will understand the importance of daily functional exercise, the long term and ongoing health benefits, the mental and emotional stimulation, and the camaraderie.
My biggest take away from my journey with this demographic. Respect them, challenge them, never limit them and always keep them safe.