Active Agers Are an Important Group for Health Clubs to Keep in Mind

by

Life Fitness Active Aging Hero

About the Author: Keith Smith is a Life Fitness Academy (LFA) Global Master Trainer based in London. He has been a part of Life Fitness for more than 20 years.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA-2012): Population aging can no longer be ignored. Globally, the proportion of older persons is growing at a faster rate than the general population. With one-in-nine persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to one-in-five by 2050, population aging is a phenomenon that we can’t ignore. The opportunities that this presents are as endless as the contributions that a socially and economically active, secure and healthy aging population can bring to society.

Simply put, this client group cannot be ignored by the fitness industry. Fitness providers need to take note of the global information and consider creating fitness experiences that will be enjoyed by this client group.

What should health clubs and personal trainers do to approach active agers?

Know that you can’t please everyone, and this client group is no different. Just as with every generation, the differences within a demographic are vast and it’s costly to aim for everyone in this client group. You want to be specific, research your local area, find out if there are specialists in the senior market that are knowledgeable about their needs—housing, travel, beauty, insurance, retail—and learn from them.

  • Who are they specifically targeting?
  • What are they offering?
  • How do they offer their service?
  • What adaptations have they made to their offering to reach this group?
  • How have they created an experience for this target market?

Consider the changes that happen with age and make adjustments to your offering. Larger fonts in advertising and promotion around your facility may help this client group feel more welcome and create an improved sense of belonging. Educate staff on the importance of adapting workouts in both complexity and intensity. A small exercise modification delivered at just the right time, with the right balance of empathy and concern creates trust with this client group, and with more trust comes value. With more value comes an enhanced reputation.

Consider altering posters, slogans, images and marketing. A facility needs to position itself in the mind of the client as a specialist, one that the aging population feels comfortable in. If facilities want to attain this demographic, they should position aging as a lifestyle, not an outcome. This will contribute to building a strong community.

The whole industry needs to take note of this growing population group, not just facility operators but also the equipment manufacturers and global educators. We need to ensure that this user group is allowed to exercise safely and effectively in environments that foster confidence. This will develop internal motivation, wrapped around an experience that is trusting and liberating, rather than full of anxiety and self doubt. Don’t think of this client group as a special population—they are quickly becoming the general population.

We should focus on this group because they are growing in number, have an abundance of leisure time and have a larger disposable income. As a facility, or personal trainer, you want to diversify and create a different exercise offering. This is an opportunity for you to create something unique.

active aging
older adults
 

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