Special Population Part 1: Exercise Program to Help You Stay Healthy and Active

Introduction: Not everyone fits the general healthy adult population. There are people who have health conditions that might hinder the desire to exercise. There are also a different group of people that have different factors like age and pregnancy. The cliché of exercise is medicine is true. Although exercise cannot cure your health condition, it can reduce the signs and symptoms to prevent the worsening condition. As long as you read along the article, you can have an effective workout for your health condition.
*This article is good for personal trainers to help build rapport to their clients who have these following conditions*

List of Special Population

There are different names of disease or health conditions that are common for most adults, particularly, in America. I should mention that special population does include older adults, children, and pregnant women since they are different from the general healthy adult population, therefore, considered as a special population. The following population discussed for this article will include diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and low back pain. (Other health conditions will be included for future articles) Luckily, ACSM provided consideration and recommendation to these following populations in order to give them an active lifestyle.
FITT: This information is according to both ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription 9th edition and ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer 5h edition.


Frequency: 3-4 days a week progress to 3-5 days a week
Intensity: Moderate intensity (4-6 RPE scale)
Time: 15 min then gradually increase to 30 min
Type: Walking and cycling


Frequency: Daily
Intensity: Moderate to vigorous intensity
Time: 60 min
Type: Running, swimming, dancing, bicycling, brisk walking, and hopping

Older adults

Frequency: 3-5 days a week
Intensity: 5-6 for moderate and 7-8 for vigorous intensity
Time: 30-60 min; equal 75-100 min per week
Type: Walking, aquatic exercise, and stationary cycle

Low back pain

Frequency: 3-4 days a week
Intensity: Moderate intensity
Time: 30-60 min, try 10 min sessions
Type: Low-impact cardio, walking, and swimming


Frequency: 3-7 days a week
Intensity: 11-13 (6-20 RPE scale)
Time: 10 min bouts to 30-60 min; 150 min per week
Type: Walking, cycling, upper body ergometer, swimming (Also depending on personal interest and goals)


Frequency: All days of the week
Intensity: 11-13 (6-20 RPE Scale)
Time: 30-60 min, 10 min bouts necessary
Type: Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming


Frequency: 5-7 days a week
Intensity: Moderate to vigorous intensity
Time: 30-60 min; start 30 min then gradually progress to 60 min
Type: Any activities involving large muscle groups like walking, running, jogging, swimming, any form of cardio

Resistance Training and Flexibility Training*


Before you go and try out the FITT prescription, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor and/or physician to get your exercise testing first. In addition, have a medical screening or evaluation to make sure you’re approved or not to exercise. It is crucial becoming aware of your body to prevent any risk of injury.
Conclusion: Following the guidelines for aerobic, strength, and flexibility training can help clients with the conditions or population above to reduce the risk of severe health risk and death. There is a lot of information to go through for each of the following population and condition. Special considerations are required for personal trainers to know when dealing with these type of clients. It is also important to become aware of your body. Listen to your body. Have a good workout.


Battista, R., Mayol, M., Hargens, T., & Everett, K. L. (2018). ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
Pescatello, L. (2014). ASCM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

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