Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baby Boomers Are Back

“It is widely known that Baby Boomers fueled the growth in health clubs in the 1980s, and it appears that they are coming back. In 1993, there were roughly 1.3 million health club members who were 55 and older. In 2004, that number increased to 10.2 million. In 2005, nearly 20 percent of health club members were 55 or older, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. There are nearly 80 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. today. The oldest members of this group are now nearing retirement. Boomers are an important group in the health and fitness industry, not only because of their numbers but also because they are highly motivated. This personality trait shows up in their drive to exercise, stay healthy and compete. To understand how much Baby Boomers still love to compete, pick up a copy of Masters Athlete magazine. Several sports journalists in the Chicago area launched this magazine and the accompanying Web site in October 2004. They decided to focus on people 40 and older who still enjoy competing. Every issue profiles older athletes -- some are in their 90s -- who do amazing things. But, of course, this competitive drive comes at a price: injuries. In fact, it’s so common that a new term has been invented to describe the injuries these older athletes suffer: ‘boomeritis.’ As an employee or owner of a fitness club, why should you care? Because Boomers are very motivated to exercise for health reasons. They don’t want to end up sitting in a wheelchair when they hit 70, or suffer a stroke or heart attack. To attract individuals from this lucrative market to your club, consider the following six ideas: 1. feed that competitive drive, 2. offer training and conditioning advice, 3. make sure you have ample cardio machines, 4. provide health checks, 5. establish flexible membership plans, and 6. promote your personal training services.”

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