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Fitness Clubs & Working Out

by Bill Farley

Today's Baby Boomers have replaced the rocking chair with the Nautilus machine and whittlin’ on the front porch with whittlin’ down the waistline. In fact, older men and women across America are working hard to become the healthiest, most active generation in history.

“Many fitness clubs and gyms are acknowledging this influx of health-conscious boomers by tailoring special programs to their unique workout needs ...”

According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, membership in gyms and health clubs nationwide by men and women who have passed the age of 55 increased by an incredible 314 percent from 1995 to 2005. Add in the slightly younger boomers between 45 and 55, and this group of active athletes stretches north of one out of every three gym members.

If you’re a baby boomer yourself, you might not find these figures surprising. Americans reaching retirement age and finding themselves with fewer demands on their time are taking advantage of their freedom to focus on living long, healthy and active lives.

Many fitness clubs and gyms are acknowledging this influx of health-conscious boomers by tailoring special programs to their unique workout needs. These include walking, low-impact aerobics, water aerobics and chair aerobics, as well as dance exercise and specialized resistance training machines designed to place less stress on muscles and joints.

All this is evident throughout South Carolina, where health facilities have proliferated. Fitness clubs offer everything from traditional weight training and exercise classes to yoga, Pilates and the martial arts. Different as they are, they share a common thread: All are heavily populated with physically fit baby boomers, many of whom train midday, when their younger colleagues are in school or at work.

Its been said that the older population is realizing that age is not a crutch and that they can accomplish more now than at any other time.

Among specialty clubs, the wildly popular Curves for women is acknowledged for pioneering a 30-minute workout for strength training and cardiovascular health utilizing hydraulic resistance. The clubs also offer a common sense weight-management programs.

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