What is the Senior Fitness Association?

Mary Elizabeth

The Senior Fitness Association (SFA) is the shortened name of the American Senior Fitness Association, an organization dedicated to the education and training of senior fitness specialists. Founded in 1992, the Senior Fitness Association in 2009 received recognition from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) as a “Best Practice Recipient” in the area of “Professional Education Systems.” The association was part of the original coalition involved in the development of the American National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors and a supporting organization in the creation of the International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults, prepared in collaboration with the World Health Organizations (WHO) Aging and Life Course.

A Senior Fitness Instructor is trained to lead exercise programs for older adults.
A Senior Fitness Instructor is trained to lead exercise programs for older adults.

The Senior Fitness Association offers two types of credentials in their training programs. The first is a Certificate of Advanced Qualification (C.A.Q.). It is achieved through completion of supplied materials including textbooks, manuals and videos, followed by a closed book, proctored examination, as well as certification in adult CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and basic first aid. This qualification is valid for two years and is renewable through completion of continuing education courses and CPR/first aid requirements.

Physical activity is considered important for seniors.
Physical activity is considered important for seniors.

The second type of credential is a Certificate of Completion. It is achieved through completing two self-paced correspondence courses. The Certificate of Completion qualification can be upgraded to a C.A.Q. qualification. Certificate of Completion credits are recognized by a number of organizations and are accepted as continuing education by them.

Training is offered in four areas. Training as a Senior Fitness Instructor prepares a student to lead exercise programs for active older adults. The Senior Personal Trainer program prepares students to provide one-on-one training for a range of clients, from active senior athletes to normal healthy individuals, to rehab clients. The Long Term Care Fitness option offers training for those wanting to lead exercise programs with disabled and/or frail elderly clients in settings such as nursing homes and adult day facilities. Finally, the Brian Fitness Project can be seen as an adjunct to the other programs, providing training in ways of incorporating cognitive fitness into a program of physical activity.

SFA also provides a Mature Fitness Network to assist older adults in finding senior exercise programs that are of high quality. Through this network, those with SFA credentials as well as any “responsible” exercise program for older adults can announce services to potential clients.

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