A few quick disclosures: as part of my work with Growing Bolder, I had the opportunity to attend the Functional Aging Summit, where I also took the one-day workshop for the Functional Aging Specialist exam. I was given a free registration for the exam.
Nobody warned me that once you get certified (for me, as a group fitness instructor and as a personal trainer), you will become fairly obsessed with collecting more certifications and specialties. It all counts toward the required continuing education, of course, but at least for me, it’s a symptom of Shiny Object Syndrome.
And the Functional Aging Specialist program just felt too perfect to pass up. It ties in with some of the initiatives I’m working on with Growing Bolder (most notably, our Team Growing Bolder project) but also, this demographic is growing at an incredible rate.
So, what is the exam?
- 90 questions
- 90 minutes (although the system actually gives you more as you can see below from the time it actually took me!)
- multiple choice
- all taken online
- three attempts possible
Once you’ve completed the test, you’ll get a chance to review the questions and see which ones you got right and wrong. You need to get 72 questions correct — 80% — for a passing score.
I dutifully studied all of the modules before traveling to the one-day workshop, and got some great hands-on learning while there. Then when I came home, I gave myself one week to review my notes, go through the module’s videos one more time and try to prepare. It is open book, but if you count on that for the test, you will probably not do very well.
You’ll definitely want to focus on a few key areas and items:
- The Functional Aging Training Model™
- The 4 Cornerstones, 2 Pillars and 7 Key Principles
- All of the assessments in the senior fitness test battery, including: Chair Stand, Arm Curl, 8′ Up and Go, 2:00 Step in Place, Chair Sit and Reach, Back Scratch
- The Berg Balance Scale
- The Functional Continuum
- Trunk Muscle/Core Muscles/Spinal Loading including superstiffness, abdominal bracing, abdominal hollowing
- The three planes
- Kinetic chain
- Push-pull variations
- Instability training options
- Intrinsic vs extrinsic risk factors for fall
- Levers (types and especially, the role of torque)
If you sign up on the FAI website, you get a free training starter pack, which I think would be very helpful if you were considering taking the exam.
Having met the two founders of FAI, and in getting to know their master trainers at the live workshop, I can tell you that the entire team is not only highly educated and experienced, they really believe in what they’re doing, which is CHANGING LIVES. Making it easier for people to live happy, fulfilled lives, whether that means preventing falls or getting in shape for masters athletic competitions.
Make sure you check out the special Functional Aging workout that Dan and Cody put together for Growing Bolder, and you can also access the videos and interviews from the 2016 Ageless Summit that I helped put together…I’m really proud of that project!