Yesterday was a tense day. It was my day to take the workshop/tests for certification as a Group Fitness Instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). It was a short story with a long prelude.
Back around a year ago when I was beginning to head toward my semi-retirement I came across a story in a local paper about a fitness instructor at a local center. He was in his early 80s, taught water aerobics (among others) and started in the fitness field when he was in his early 60s.
Over the past 8 years I have slowly but surely worked toward a broader and deeper understanding of fitness. It began when I wanted to do 60 miles of biking for my 60th birthday. For an uncounted time I joined a health club. I was periodic in attendance, but I did keep going. I then moved and joined the healthy living center at my new residence.
That has continued for most of the past 5 years through three surgeries and a few other physical concerns cropping up. As I got into biking and I even commuted to work on my bike. When I read the article on the fitness instructor in town it was like an "Aha!" moment. I have something new to offer, even as I have (now) passed age 65.
So I began to pursue that angle. I took a couple online courses from AFAA on getting ready to be a group fitness instructor and a personal fitness instructor. Yesterday I did the day-long certification workshop ending in the four-part examination. Three of those are "practical," something that AFAA is known for and, I think, is an essential part of becoming a fitness instructor. In this part of the day we had to demonstrate that
1) we knew two strength and one stretching action for each of 10 muscle groups;There is then a written exam with 100 matching or multiple choice questions. Perhaps the largest single group of questions dealt with the different muscles and muscle groups along with their locations and actions.
2) could do a 3-minute warm-up and five-minute cardio routine; and
3) lead the group in one activity showing beginning, intermediate and advanced options.
I won't know for 4 - 6 weeks how I did. Since no job is hinging on passing the test and getting the certification I am not in any hurry, other than to know.
What will I do with this? At this point I don't know. I would like to be able to help others my age- or approaching my age- to know that age doesn't have to be a reason to get out of shape or even to get back into shape.
I have also discovered Yoga and Tai Chi as important mental supports and mindfulness practices. I don't think I will get special certifications in either of those areas, but you never know how I can use those experiences as well.
In addition all this has a big part to play in addiction/alcoholism recovery. Specialized groups in fitness centers or community programs for recovering people to help their sobriety would be a good move. But at this point, I am not trying to shoehorn this into something. Rather I am trying to be open to whatever directions come.
By the way, the experience yesterday at the workshop was wonderful. I learned a lot and was directed well by the instructor. The field of fitness and exercise is changing rapidly and there are obvious needs for good instructors and trained leaders.
But for now, I wait. Since I am also back to work full-time for a while, it will give me time to think through how this can fit into my semi-retired life.