Everyone is in need of physical activity for favorable health, including people with disabilities. According to the CDC, 53 million adults in the USA are living with a disability. However, nearly 50% of those who are capable of being physically active does not get nearly enough physical activity. As a fitness professional, it is always good to be armed with as many skills and certifications as possible as it will allow you to stand out in an intensely competitive field. Obtaining the necessary certifications that will enable you to provide all-inclusive training to the disabled will not only allow you to cater for a niche market but will see you render an invaluable service to the community as well.
Why are special certifications required?
In short, it’s the right thing to do. Being an all-inclusive trainer involves you catering to the special population of the USA. The term special population embraces a large variety of people including those with mental and physical disabilities. It also makes provision for the elderly, survivors of illnesses such as cancer and those who are morbidly obese. Special populations such as these could be a great addition to your client base. They do, however, come with a certain responsibility and risk set.
When working with people with disabilities, whether physical or mental, it becomes increasingly important to be well-educated in terms of their physiological needs and capabilities. While a standard personal fitness certification will suffice when dealing with the general public, the special population require trainers that are well-versed in their specific requirements. Becoming adequately certified will enable you to provide sound advice and guidance with regards to fitness, nutrition and understanding the importance of supplements in a well-balanced diet.
How do I get certified?
There are a number of country-wide institutions that offer the necessary certifications required to become an all-inclusive trainer. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD) is one such an organization that labors to create health and fitness initiatives for the disabled. They have gone as far as to partner with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to create a certification for fitness professionals wanting to cater for the disabled market. Other reputable institutions such as the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and American Council on Exercise (ACE) also offer suitable courses within the field.
By becoming suitably accredited you will not only be able to support and encourage people with disabilities to become more active and lead a fulfilling life but increase your market share substantially as well. As rewarding as the financial incentive associated with a boosted clientele may be, nothing is more gratifying than being able to provide a choice service to individuals who need it most.
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