Baby Boomers need gyms now more than ever. Discover why and how exactly gyms can serve this population below.
By 2030, over 37 million Baby Boomers will manage multiple chronic conditions.
In fact, 25% will live with diabetes, almost half will live with arthritis and over 33% will be classified as obese. And the over 65 population will nearly triple by 2030. All of this was reported by the American Hospital Association and First Consulting Group in 2007.
This reality hasn’t changed. In September 2020, the CDC reported more than half of adults in the U.S. have at least one of 10 selected diagnosed chronic conditions. And 27.2% of U.S. adults have multiple chronic conditions. These include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Coronary heart disease
- Current asthma
- Weak or failing kidneys
And Scripps Health noted the top 10 health challenges facing Baby Boomers, which include Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
As fitness facility operators, you are set up to help address a large portion of these needs. Scripps Health noted maintaining a healthy weight is key in helping prevent arthritis and joint replacement, exercise and nutrition help decrease the risk of heart disease, and lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on diabetes and its associated risks.
With this in mind, Chuze Fitness believes it’s important for gyms to have classes geared towards seniors on Group X schedules.
“Just like how a professional athlete needs specific training, so do seniors,” said Jananne Schlerf, an AFAA Group X certified instructor at Chuze Fitness. “While skill and ability vary, seniors need physical activity to live their lives as independently as possible. Senior classes provide movement that safely and strategically enables them to gain strength, mobility and balance, allowing seniors to live life to the fullest. These classes allow seniors to go at a slower pace appropriate for them without being overwhelmed by gym equipment. For some people, this may mean being able to sit up on their own or even getting up and recovering from a fall if needed. Furthermore, the class setting creates a social environment that is encouraging and welcoming to everyone, providing great mental and physical health benefits.”
With this in mind, Baby Boomers need gyms and to be catered to. As such, offer programs that cater to them with elements that can include:
- Incorporate exercises that simulate and support their daily activities and physical interests.
- Give them programs that help improve mood, memory and brain power.
- Socialization is a key aspect, so incorporate partner workouts or even games into the fitness offerings.
- Have these five elements in a program designed for this age group: aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, balance and relaxation.
In addition, keep in mind that safety is key.
“Safety is the most important practice to keep in mind,” said Schlerf. “As someone serving the senior demographic, it is crucial always to be aware of limitations, past or current injuries, and offer exercise modifications to anyone who may need it. One of the most common modifications we use in senior classes is chairs instead of using the floor. Lastly, keep it fun by playing music they will enjoy and creating a fun atmosphere.”
This population can’t be ignored as 2030 draws near and the impact of Baby Boomer’s health has impending implications for the health care system in the U.S. How is your fitness facility serving them?