Continuing Education as an Inclusive Fitness Professional
By Jennifer Green, MS
|Jennifer Green, NCHPAD Visiting Information Specialist|
While continuing education credits (“CECs”) are often required to uphold your certification, going above and beyond those required credits or tapping into resources that can give you unlimited access to new and emerging techniques and strategies in the field can be beneficial for numerous reasons. The field of personal training, as well as the state of various health conditions, are perpetually changing, and new research and findings are continuously being discovered and updated. To uphold your standard as an inclusive fitness trainer, it is important to expand your repertoire of skills and knowledge, keeping in mind that education goes beyond programming, and that knowledge about accessibility, legislation, etc., is also important.
In order to do so, consider the following:
Register for webinars that can be easily accessed from your home or office. Try refreshing your knowledge by registering for the ACSM/NCHPAD CIFT webinar if you haven’t done so already.
Subscribe to newsletters, e-journals, or listservs from various organizations. Examples include but are not limited to:
Set an alert on your Google Reader or other similar program to notify you when new studies are being published regarding physical activity and disability. Some articles I find interesting and helpful include:
- Building Inclusive Physical Activity Communities for People with Vision Loss
- ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Recreation Facilities
- Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) Checklist for Buildings and Facilities
- Removing Barriers to Health Care: A Guide for Health Professionals
- The American College of Sports Medicine dedicated the 2006 October-December quarterly issue of their Certified News entirely to disability
- Can Disability, Chronic Conditions, Health and Wellness Coexist?, by June Isaacson Kailes, MSW, LCSW
- The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities
- Promoting Inclusive Physical Activity Communities for People with Disabilities
- Physical Activity Participation Among Persons with Disabilities
- Use of the ICF in identifying factors that impact participation in physical activity/rehabilitation among people with disabilities
- Development and validation of AIMFREE: Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments
- The Conspicuous Absence of People With Disabilities in Public Fitness and Recreation Facilities: Lack of Interest or Lack of Access?
In addition to staying up to date with the latest research, organizations, conferences, and journal articles, a great way to stay educated is to train others. If you consider yourself a knowledgeable ambassador of inclusive fitness, why not train other trainers to do the same? Consider hosting disability awareness training for others working at your facility or perhaps create factsheets or flyers that can be dispersed to either employees or patrons. Perhaps you could evaluate the accessibility of your facility or group fitness classes, and begin to propose small, readily achievable changes to make them more inclusive.
In all, continuing education goes beyond attending conferences and answering questionnaires at the end of a newsletter. It is a continuous effort to find new resources that you can utilize to your advantage. By doing so, you will benefit your clients, your facility, and yourself.
If you are interested in presenting disability awareness training or something similar and are looking for materials, please contact the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability; we will be happy to assist you.
Please send any questions or comments to Jennifer Green at firstname.lastname@example.org.