To help meet the health and wellness needs of the 65 and older population (41.4 million citizens in the United States), gyms and fitness facilities are popping up all around the nation that cater exclusively to the aging baby boomers and senior citizens. And elderly exercise enthusiasts are reaping the rewards.
According to researchers, simple resistance training can improve muscle strength, power, and functional performance in people over the age of 65. Instead of trying to find a senior-friendly gym to work out in, there are facilities designed just for them.
Jason Greenspan, owner of Silver Stars Fitness, New York City’s first and only studio specifically for the more mature fitness fan, says business is booming. “As a fitness-professional, you usually get involved in the industry to improve as many lives as possible. There are more baby boomers exercising now more than ever that need guidance and help from fitness professionals that really understand what is most important to leading high-quality lives.”
How do senior-focused fitness studios differ from a regular gym? Silver Stars Fitness is a private studio specifically designed for the baby boomer and beyond, explains Greenspan. “There are no crowds, loud noise, or music to contend with; each client can request their choice of music. We offer the most extensive class schedules in the industry with over 18 classes that are most important to the older adult.”
The atmosphere is gentler — and so are the goals. “All of our classes are small groups with an average of three to four people and a maximum of six,” says Greenspan. “The small groups are beneficial in that it allows us to offer each client personalized service, which decreases the risk of injury that can happen in your typical class setting of a large commercial club.” Instructors and trainers specialize in working with the older adult population. Silver Stars also has a 24-hour fitness hotline that will answer client fitness questions via email or over the phone and they also offer monthly lectures and parties.
If you think strength is strictly for the younger set, think again. According to Greenspan, mature adults are capable of performing at levels that are 20 years younger than their actual calendar age.