There are numerous professionals in the health field – chiropractors, physicians, nurses, other medical experts, mental health counselors, and beyond, and most would benefit from adding a personal training certification to their bios. Each type of health professional has a specific role and scope of practice that varies tremendously by comparison. However, all health professionals have a common thread – addressing identified health concerns of their patients and clients. Imagine how much might change in the lives of those we serve if we all share a similar message centered on changing those behaviors that detract from health. More specifically, a lack of physical activity.

Let’s be clear about one thing first: A lack of physical activity isn’t the only factor detracting from the majority of Americans’ health. Many battle poor nutritional habits, too much sedentary time, and stress management challenges. In short, what many Americans suffer from is a lack of lifestyle balance and the knowledge and skills that would facilitate the achievement of such a balance. Here’s where all health professionals can influence and maybe even ignite change. Just as personal trainers can benefit from developing a more sophisticated understanding of different concepts outside of their fundamental knowledge base, other health professionals could elevate their practice by deepening their understanding of exercise principles and encouraging their patients and clients to get up and move more often. Here are five ways existing health pros can benefit from obtaining a personal trainer certification.

  1. Deeper Conversations. Health professionals are uniquely positioned to influence the lifestyle choices of those they serve. They often have their patients’ undivided attention and have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one conversations. These conversations open the door for the health professional to dig a little deeper into the root causes of a patient’s concern rather than solely focusing on the presented condition. For example, a patient is seeking treatment from her doctor because she is feeling chronically fatigued and stressed. A physician who understands the relationship between physical activity, stress management, and energy levels will likely approach this situation by investigating and then learning that the patient isn’t physically active. As a result, the doctor could then identify ways to encourage more daily movement, and prescribe exercise as a significant part of the plan of care. In this case, the cause, rather than the symptoms alone, could be treated.
  2. Physical Activity as a Vital Sign. Many health professionals are conditioned and required to take a patient’s vital signs – heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. The presence of physical activity in a patient’s life (and its subsequent beneficial effects on objectively measured vital signs) is not always considered. A professional trained in exercise concepts will have a different perspective and approach to patient intake and assessment.
  3. Mindful Focus. It’s easy as a professional to become myopic in how we interact with and solve the problems our patients and clients experience. Expanding your knowledge base by learning more about exercise and its role in vitality, health, and disease prevention and treatment allows us to take a more mindful approach in how we address concerns of those we serve. The focus is broadened from one of “treatment only” to one of “integrative and goal-driven care”.
  4. Educational Investment. Regular intellectual stimulation is a key factor in keeping the mind healthy. Learning a new trade and expanding your knowledge base and skill set is an investment in your intellectual wellness. The great news is the general concepts related to personal training (anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition, behavior change, exercise programming, etc.) can both directly and indirectly relate to your field of study.
  5. Support Current Practice. Whatever role you hold in the health field, learning how to thoughtfully and strategically discuss and integrate exercise into the lives of your patients and clients elevates your practice while actively supporting the health goals of those you serve. What better marriage is there?

All in all, obtaining a personal trainer certification is a wise professional investment. Not only will you add a quality credential to your list of qualifications, but you have the focused opportunity to better the lives of those you serve. Certified fitness professionals are on the front lines and investing their time and expertise in helping clients overcome their hypokinetic lifestyles. If all health professionals synchronized efforts to spread a similar message, the landscape of public health could look vastly different.

It is important to note that if you are considering seeking out a personal trainer certification, be sure to obtain one that is NCCA accredited. In doing so, you can be assured that your certification is heavily vetted and regularly reviewed by other top-quality professionals in the field to ensure credentialing excellence.

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Erin Nitschke

Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, The Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune. Visit her personal blog at