Seniors represent the fastest-growing population in the fitness and health industry, prompting many program directors to create new physical activity programs that meet the needs of an aging population. According to Jennifer Mayer, an expert in health and fitness programming and a contributor to the new online course Managing Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults: Programming (Human Kinetics, 2008), fitness professionals must recognize that the needs of older adults differ from those of the general population.

"Programming for older adults is simple, progressive, and fun," Mayer says. "With the general public you have to constantly change things up, but older adults prefer routine and structure."

Mayer also stresses the importance of incorporating a socialization factor into all programs and researching the most profitable time of day. "The biggest mistake that facility directors make in programming for older adults usually concerns the time of day," Mayer says. "Program directors really need to research what the most appropriate time is to offer a program."

In the Managing Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults series of online courses, Mayer shows health and fitness professionals how to design, implement, and manage physical activity programs for older adults. Combining a seminar-style presentation and online learning activities, the course shows participants how to develop or adapt programs for a variety of people, ranging from fit to frail. The second course in the series addresses the five secrets to staffing: recruiting, selection, orientation and training, accountability, and retention.

"The best thing about working with older adults is their loyalty and their gratitude," Mayer says. "They truly are grateful for the help in achieving their health and fitness goals."

For more information on the Managing Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults series or any other online courses, contact Human Kinetics at 800.747.4457 or visit
About The Courses:
Managing Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults: Programming
Online Course, 90 minutes
ISBN 978-0-7360-7582-4 
Managing Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults: Staffing
Online Course, 90 minutes
ISBN 978-0-7360-7583-1
Jennifer Mayer is the associate partner for New Paradigm Partners, where she serves as an industry consultant and subject matter expert in health and fitness programming. In 1998 Jennifer received her BS degree in health appraisal and enhancement with a minor in nutrition from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduation, Jennifer was the regional programming director for Mercy HealthPlex in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the largest medically based fitness facilities in the United States, where she designed and supported innovative branded programming options. Jennifer is an advisory board member for the Aquatic Exercise Association Review and Cut Score Testing Committee. She has also served on the boards of the Arthritis Foundation and Cincinnati State College. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys marathon running, cycling, and reading.


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