As the Woodstock generation rocks into their 60s, they are revolutionizing yet another aspect of society - the gym. Looking to maintain a healthy quality of life, members more than 55-years-old joined gyms over the past 15 years at double the rate of the 35 to 54 age group. Fitness centers looking to capture this lucrative older market are springing up all over the country.
In addition to services aimed at adults, seniors are seeking an atmosphere that is more relaxing and less competitive. No matter how you've kept in shape over the years, it is discouraging working out next to a 20-something who can lift double his weight after a week of training or run full speed on the treadmill barely disturbing her bellybutton ring.
What do you find in a "Silver Gym?"
· Low-impact cardio equipment and simple-to-use pneumatic weight machines.
· No classes with head-pounding music and hip-hop leaping movements. Instead there are lessons in yoga, Tai Chi, ballroom dancing and Pilates.
· Majority of classes scheduled during the late morning and early afternoon.
· Very senior-specific stuff such as driving simulators to improve driving skills, special equipment for brain exercises and Med Spas for non-surgical body contouring and facial rejuvenation.
· Low-cost, one-on-one personal training with experienced, degreed professionals.
· Physical therapy covered by most types of insurances including Medicare.
· Age-specific nutritional programs.
Fitness centers leading the silver charge include Nifty after Fifty®, Healthfit, and Club 50. Big chains such as Gold's Gym and Bally Total Fitness have been wading into the senior waters by pairing up with SilverSneakers, a fitness program for people with Medicare. Ad campaigns this fall targeting boomers by corporate and independent gyms leave no doubt that silver is the new green for the fitness industry.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times