My Debut as a "Silver Sneakers" Instructor

I taught my first Silver Sneakers fitness class, a program that helps older adults get into shape and stay healthy. Lesson learned: It's never too late to increase strength and flexibility.

I recently taught my first series of Silver Sneakers exercise classes at my local gym and learned two things.  First, you can work up a sweat while sitting in a chair, and second, it’s never too late to start a fitness regimen.  Even if you've been a couch potato or weekend warrior, starting an exercise program later in life can have multiple benefits.  Aside from improving your fitness and strength, it is a great way to socialize and get accustomed to a gym setting. It is also especially important to weight train as you age.  Studies have shown that weight training can reverse bone loss and help prevent bone fractures due to osteoporosis. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/living-with-osteoporosis-7/weight-training

Silver Sneakers are fitness classes for older adults designed to improve flexibility, range of motion and increase muscular strength.  The tools used are elastic tubes, weights and fitness balls combined with low impact aerobic choreography. The combination of functional resistance training and cardiovascular exercise benefits older adults in their daily life activities.

Since I was a substitute and this was my first class, I had to learn a few things: how to work the stereo, unlock the padlocked closet and learn everyone’s names. I also studied the music and created my routine of weight training, flexibility and balance exercises, alternating with elementary dance steps.  I enjoyed doing this since I was famliar with the ‘60’s music, like “Rescue Me”, "Na Na, Hey, Hey”, and “Wild Thing.” I practiced the cha cha and mambo in the living room with my kids as participants, critiquing me. 

I was a little nervous in front of my first class, and had my cheat sheet nearby, as I warmed up the Silver Sneakers members.  They were gracious as I sometimes mixed up my right and left, since I had to face them and mirror their steps; my right being their left, etc. Many times I would exclaim, “O.k, now bicep curl…with the other hand!”  By class four, I felt more confident, looser and knew everyone’s names. I’m a firm believer in stretching, so every class ended with upper and lower body stretching and breathing.  The benefits were mutual.  I had a lot of fun and gained great satisfaction knowing that I helped those in my class improve their fitness and mobility. 

For more information on the Silver Sneakers fitness program, click on their website: http://www.silversneakers.com/

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jays January 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Im about to teach my first SS class ROM. I have never taught any fitness class and its been almost a year since my SS training. I have attended classes and tried to take notes. Now am designing my choreography and I think I am trying too hard. Have watch a lot of youtube. The choreography and counting part is messing me up, but kind of realize that as long as I am within my segment of music beats ..oh well. trying to to be discouraged. wish I had a ROM training video to follow ;/
Lily Zajc January 17, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Hi there. Don't be discouraged about exact counting and beats when doing the choreography...as long as your dance steps follow the beat of the music. Also does the stereo you'll be using have pitch control? Then you can slow down or speed up the music. When I took my SS ROM class, they gave us a dvd to keep as part of the class. If you didn't get one, maybe try calling them so they can send you it? Good luck - the first time is always the hardest...then it gets much easier!
Isabel Ruiz February 18, 2013 at 09:26 PM
I will be certified as an SS instructor in March and teach in April. I would like to buy some used workout videos before then, to start practicing. I am really nervous, but glad that I am familiar with the members. I will teach the chair exercises and yoga.
Grace Magliaro April 04, 2014 at 01:10 PM
I will be getting my SS certifications next week & was wondering how I go about getting work.They don't seem to help you with that information.


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