September 18, 2013: Buff Boomers
Since the day they were born (starting in 1946, ending in 1964), the nation’s Baby Boomers left a tsunami of trends in their wake. And now that most of them (um, us) are in their 50s and 60s, they’re having an impact on the fitness market.
IBISWorld, a research company specializing in growing industries, reports that Baby Boomers (those aged 55 and older) are driving gym memberships. They’re one of the fastest-growing segments of the soon-to-be $30 billion fitness industry.
But true to the “all about me” fixation (more hype than fact, I believe) of this generation, The Los Angeles Times says there’s now a “slew of new gyms and exercise programs catering exclusively to the gray-haired set.” (Marketing tip: Most of us over 55 don’t appreciate being referred to as the “gray-haired” set, so please come up with better terminology.)
The key to success in this market, according to The Times, is to first convince the Boomers they need to exercise, and then involve them in spreading the word to their friends and families.
Also consider adding nontraditional exercise classes to your mix. Several of the gyms interviewed by The Times offer instruction in things like martial arts using a walking stick, Volley Ball-oon (balloon volleyball played from chairs), Wii bowling tournaments and gardening.
And don’t forget the social aspect of Boomer workouts. Gyms are great places for empty-nester, divorced or widowed Boomers to meet and form new relationships.