What is in this article?:
- Increase Revenue by Offering Fitness Programming for Baby Boomers
- Appealing to Older Adults
Offering programs for baby boomers can help health clubs drive revenue, but developing programs that meet both their wants and needs can be a challenge.
Every day, 10,000 people are turning 65 in the United States. By 2030, the fastest-growing segment of the population will be people over the age of 85. We can only imagine the impact this staggering shift in societal demographics will have on our economic, social and physical well-being, but when it comes to exercise and aging, we know that appropriate programming for baby boomers is one way to drive ancillary revenue.
Baby boomers represent one of the largest aging groups in the world, not to mention the most easily retained, according to statistics from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). They want successful aging with fitness programs designed to fit their needs, and they have the funds to pay for it. Specialty programs that focus on cognitive skills and flexibility training as well as fast-twitch muscles maintenance will add value to baby boomers' memberships by addressing their specific needs.
Unfortunately, it seems that the fitness industry is focused on developing programs that make the fit fitter while there remains a lack of seasoned instructors and trainers investigating how to motivate the aging athlete. This does not bode well for the almost 80 percent of people who currently do not exercise in a fitness facility and may be in need of help.
Programming that highlights social interaction must be our focus in the years to come. Engaging the older active adult using our fitness facilities during off-peak hours is both efficient and ideal for this demographic. As fitness experts often encourage us to remember, there is still a young person dwelling inside of everyone.
Many older adults look at current programming and think, "This is for me... later," or, "I don't fit this demographic... yet." Our industry has some great success stories and some struggles with programs such as Silver Sneakers and Silver & Fit. These types of classes focus on improving and/or maintaining functional capacity and independence, but we need more programs that appeal to the over-50 crowd that may be categorized as physically elite or fit.
Traditionally, the over-65 market is separated into three physical aging categories: independent, frail or dependent. According to Fabio Comana, director of continuing education for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), more mature populations often do not become independent. They either avoid exercise altogether because the programs offered are too much for them, or they ignore what we offer because it fits their needs but not their desires.