A man running on a treadmill next to a female SFS specialist
A elderly woman working out next to a male trainer


Senior Fitness Specialization

What could be more rewarding than helping older adults to stave off age-related decline and rediscover their health and fitness? In this specialization, you’ll gain the tools you need to exert a life-changing impact on the lives of active older adults.

  • Empower older adults by helping them regain the strength, stamina, and flexibility to stay healthy and independent

  • Explore the physiological and psychological changes that occur with aging

  • Learn advanced fitness assessments and evaluations specific for the needs of older adults

  • Design exercise programs to help older adults reduce the risk of falls, gain independence, and ward off the negative physical effects of aging

  • Understand the limitations and fitness obstacles of older adults

  • Expand your client base by appealing to the 54 million (and growing) adults over 65

  • Self-paced online program makes it easy and convenient to launch your new career from home in as little as 2-4 weeks

  • CEU Value: 1.5 NASM


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Older adults can be a fantastic source of clients for your fitness business. In this specialization, you’ll learn about the physical, physiological, and psychological considerations of aging, and how to adjust your training routines to align with the training guidelines for older adults.

When you choose NASM to pursue your Senior Fitness Specialization, you’ll get access to:

  • • World-class fitness & nutrition experts.

  • • Peer-reviewed content from the brightest minds in the industry.

  • • State-of-the-art digital learning platform designed to meet multiple learning styles.

  • • A curriculum that is consistently reviewed and updated with the most up-to-date material available.

See the full Senior Fitness Specialization curriculum here.

NASM’s online program makes getting your Senior Fitness Specialization as easy and convenient as can be. By completing the self-guided study materials at your own pace, you can get your Senior Fitness Specialization and begin working with clients in as little as 2-4 weeks.

To earn your NASM Senior Fitness Specialization, you simply have to:

  1. 1) Register in the NASM SFS program.

  2. 2) Complete the self-guided online study materials in your own time from the comfort of home.

  3. 3) Pass the certification exam.

After completing the study materials, you’ll take an online exam to earn your Senior Fitness Specialization. This exam features:

  • • 100 multiple-choice questions

  • • 90 minutes to complete

  • • Open-book format

  • • 70% required to pass

  • • 3 test attempts included

NASM has over 35 years of experience training the world’s top fitness professionals, and we do it better than anyone else. NASM credentials stand out to employers and distinguish you as a highly trained fitness professional.

Since our formation, we’ve trained over 1.5 million fitness professionals in 100+ countries. In that time we’ve developed extensive partnerships with over 12,000 gyms and health clubs. That means we have the connections necessary to help you get in the door and gain employment from the fitness company of your dreams.

Questions? Get guidance from our Program Experts

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There are no prerequisites for this course. Although a personal trainer certification or a fitness specialization is recommended.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Senior Fitness
The Senior Fitness Specialization (SFS) is a comprehensive program for fitness professionals delivered in an immersive online experience that combines current evidence-based information on the physiological and psychological considerations of aging, assessment strategies for the older adult, exercise progressions, and program design considerations for the older client.

Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Scope of Practice
In this chapter, you'll examine the scope of practice for Senior Fitness Specialists and understand their role in the healthcare continuum.

  • • 5 Infographics

  • • 1 Video

  • • 1 Quiz

Chapter 3: Physical and Physiological Considerations of Aging
You'll understand the physiological changes that occur in the nervous system and the cardiorespiratory system as people age. Learn how the musculoskeletal system changes with age and understand safety concerns.

Chapter 4: Psychological Considerations of Aging
In this chapter, you'll learn age-related influences on the quality of life, emotional well-being, and self-perception for the older adult client. You'll also understand the psychosocial effects that exercise can have.

  • • 11 Infographics

  • • 2 Videos

  • • 2 Quizzes

Chapter 5: Fitness Assessments for the Active Older Adult
This chapter will help you understand the components of an integrated assessment to be used with older adults. Learn how to conduct a screening process and interpret the data to reveal health risks. Utilize several different assessments to enable successful behavior change, physiological and functional fitness improvement.

  • • 5 Infographics

  • • 1 Video

  • • 3 Printable Handouts

  • • 1 Quiz

Chapter 6: Flexibility Guidelines for Active Older Adults
This chapter discusses the rationale for flexibility training. Learn to safely progress an older adult through flexibility training and apply appropriate acute variables when performing flexibility training with older adults.

Chapter 7: Cardiorespiratory Training Guidelines for Active Older Adults
You'll get an understanding of cardiorespiratory training and how to safely assist older adults through it. Find out how to apply the FITTE principles when performing this type of training.

Chapter 8: Core, Balance, and Plyometric Training Guidelines for Active Older Adults
This section explains the epidemiology of falls and importance for fall prevention programming in older adults. Learn different core, balance and reactive trainings to help prevent the risk of falls.

Chapter 9: Resistance Training Guidelines for Active Older Adults
In this chapter, you'll learn the adaptations that occur during the stabilization-endurance, strength-endurance, muscular hypertrophy, maximal strength, and power phases on the Optimum Performance Training (OPT™) Model. Know how to use appropriate resistance training exercises based on the different levels of the OPT™ Model.

  • • 8 Infographics

  • • 4 Videos

  • • 1 Printable Handout

  • • 4 Quizzes

Chapter 10: Program Design for the Active Older Adult
This chapter will help you define and describe the acute training variables within each phase of the Optimum Performance Training (OPT™) Model. Be familiar with the physiological considerations when designing cardiorespiratory and resistance training programs for older adult clients.

Chapter 11: Common Medical Conditions and Programming Modifications
Be able to determine various chronic conditions and comorbidities associated with active older adults. Understand how medical conditions affect the body and be able to outline exercise recommendations for those with chronic conditions and comorbidities.

  • • 10 Infographics

  • • 2 Videos

  • • 1 Printable Handout

  • • 2 Quizzes

Chapter 12: Nutrition Guidelines and Considerations for Active Older Adults
You'll understand the caloric requirements, guidelines and considerations for macronutrient consumption for older client health. Explain proper micronutrient considerations and determine nutrition guidelines for them.

  • • 2 Infographics

  • • 1 Video

  • • 1 Quiz

Chapter 13: Professional and Business Development
In this chapter, you'll learn the legal requirements when working as a personal trainer and NASM's Code of Professional Conduct. Develop a plan of action to best market services.

  • • 1 Video

  • • 1 Quiz

You will have 365 days from the date of enrollment to take your final exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. There is a time limit of 90 minutes, and you must pass with a 70% or higher. You will have 3 attempts to pass, but additional retests can be purchased by calling Member Services at 1-800-460-6276.

Senior Fitness Specialization FAQs

As one of the most trusted sources of fitness training certifications in the world, NASM is a distinguished name that will stand out to fitness employers. When you choose NASM for your Senior Fitness Specialization, you’ll get access to world-class fitness experts, your top choice of gyms to work for, and much more:

  • • Peer-Reviewed Content from the Brightest Minds in the Industry

  • • State-of-the-Art Digital Learning Platform

  • • Programs Designed to Meet Multiple Learning Styles

  • • 35+ Years Of Experience Training Fitness Professionals

  • • 1.5M+ Fitness Professionals Trained

  • • 100+ Countries with NASM Fitness and Coach Professionals

  • • 12K+ Gym & Health Club Partnerships

As a Senior Fitness Specialist, your scope of practice will allow you to perform individualized assessments and design safe, scientifically based exercise programs for older adults and those with chronic health conditions or physical limitations. You'll be able to provide older adults with advice about healthy lifestyle choices and help them improve their quality of life, while knowing when to refer them to a qualified healthcare practitioner.

A fitness credential is recommended, but not required, for the Senior Fitness Specialization program.

You can complete your Senior Fitness Specialization in as few as 2-4 weeks. In addition to its interactive multimedia-rich content, learning tools, resources, and comprehensive study-planning guide, you can also receive assistance from NASM experts when questions arise.

Absolutely! You can complete the Senior Fitness Specialization program while also working full-time. The study material is 100% online and self-paced, and can be accessed on a computer, or a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.

The Senior Fitness Specialization final exam is taken online inside your student portal. You'll have 365 days from the date of purchase, to study and complete the exam. This exam features:

  • • 100 multiple-choice questions

  • • 90 minutes to complete

  • • Open-book format

  • • 70% required to pass

  • • 3 test attempts included

This course is worth the following CEUs:

  • NASM Approved

    1.5 CEUs

  • AFAA Approved

    15 CEUs

Don’t worry! You’ll have 3 attempts to pass the final exam, and you can purchase additional retests by calling Member Services at 1-800-460-6276.

No. Once you pass the final exam, your Senior Fitness Specialization with NASM will never expire.