According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fitness worker jobs are expected to increase at a rate that is about the national average for all occupations into the 2020s. That may not make fitness work seem like a very exciting occupation to pursue until you read between the lines. What you can find there between the lines is an increased devotion among all demographic segments of the population to getting in shape and staying in shape once there. While America’s march toward obesity continues unabated, the flip side is that Americans are also prepared to spend as much money working off the extra calories as they are to spend on the fatty foods they eat. This paradox essentially means fitness being a prime career choice.
- Fitness Directors
Fitness directors are in charge of a gym, health club or fitness center. In addition to designing and implementing exercise programs, the job of fitness director may--and most likely will--extend to all facets involved in the creation of programs designed to meet all needs of the members of the club. Other aspects of the fitness director job include hiring, training and firing employees and overseeing the administrative duties required to keep the gym, club or center operating.
- Exercise Instructors
Exercise instructors can avoid the real pain of working in the fitness industry: handling those administrative duties and handing off supervision to underlings. This frees them up to do what exercise instructors do best: whipping people into the best shape of their lives. Instructors may be in charge of a group session or they may just concentrate on individual instruction to provide a much more personal and comprehensive attention to fitness.
As with show business, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the fact that the fitness industry is a business that requires all the necessary economic and financial management as any other field. If you happen to be committed to a fitness regiment yourself and you just graduated with an MBA or some other degree related to business management, the ideal combination of your two great interests in life could converge in managing a fitness center. If you haven’t yet decided on a degree path, knowing where you want to go in management means thinking ahead. In between hitting the college gym, why not starting adding a few courses in business management, accounting and exercise science to your current liberal arts course load?
- Specializing in Senior Fitness
One of the driving forces behind the expected continued growth in this field is the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. This is the generation that stimulated the original growth of the fitness industry in the 1970s and 1980s. As this generation enters their Golden Years, many remain eager to stay more physically fit than their parents and grandparents were during their years as a senior citizen. The Census Bureau currently projects the baby-boom populationwill total 61.3 million in 2029, when the youngest boomers reach age 65.
- Specializing in Children’s Fitness
Another aspect of growth in the fitness industry is related to budget shortfalls in the educational system that has forced many school districts to cut back on P.E. programs. The breakdown of physical activities mandated by schools combined with the video game revolution that has moved most childhood play from outside to inside presents a wide-open opportunity in the fitness industry. Many parents are looking for an extracurricular outlet to assist in the physical development of their children while working as a weapon to combat the trend toward obesity. Fitness workers with experience in martial arts, team sports and calisthenics should find ample opportunity to put their skills to work.
- Specializing in Fitness as Physical Therapy
It is not just the aging of the Baby Boomers that has caused an increased in fitness programs doing double duty as physical therapy. The rise of the computer keyboard as an absolutely vital part of both work and home life has resulted in an increase in physical discomfort. Office workers may look to fitness centers to help with back pain. Repetitive stress disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome and worsening of arthritis symptoms can also contribute to finding long-term success with a career that offers fitness as a means of physical therapy for the 21st century lifestyle.
Fitness workers can get jobs in health clubs, hospitals, schools, specialized training studios and as personal attendants to private clients. Fitness worker specialties span the gamut of physical fitness disciplines: Pilates, yoga, karate, weight lifting and aerobic instructors are disciplines that just scratch the surface. These disciplines and more afford career options with long-term potential for meeting the desires of a society to eat healthily and look good.