How Baby Boomers Stay Fit

Nearly 25% of all gym members are over the age of 55 according to the International Health, Raquet and Sports Club Association. This statistic represents a growing trend of members of the Baby Boomer generation seeking methods for maintaining their health and fitness levels throughout retirement.

While many retirees from past generations have worked diligently to remain fit throughout their retirement years, Baby Boomers seem to be taking the definition to an entirely new level. Avid fitness buffs and those looking to simply improve and maintain their levels of fitness are exploring their available options as they enter retirement.

Improving and maintaining physical fitness for adults offers not only improved balance, enhanced strength, and added flexibility, but also a lower incidence of illnesses and disease and a higher quality of life. In addition to many of the more familiar forms of fitness such as walking, running, golf and cycling, Baby Boomers are exploring new fitness techniques.Yoga and PilatesYoga has taken the nation by storm, with individuals of all age levels participating and exploring the many fitness benefits the practice offers. Yoga works to improve balance, strength and flexibility through poses, breathing and focused movements Shop for Yoga and Fitness products at Gaiam.com!. There are a variety of yoga types, often offered by not only traditional gyms, but yoga specific fitness centers. Those who love yoga often also explore Pilates.

Pilates also teaches an awareness of breath, similar to yoga. But, Pilates works on focused exercises, utilizing machines or natural poses designed to add resistance to the body’s muscles. The overall goal is enhanced strength, improved core strength and muscle control.

Boomers can find facilities that focus exclusively on these fitness techniques, can inquire whether their current gyms offer these forms of exercise or can participate at home using home videos or DVDs.

Multi-Sport Training
One of the biggest trends seen within the younger members of the Baby Boomer generation is the participation in multi-sport training. Triathlons, Duathlons, and ½ or full Iron Man’s are increasing in popularity. Not only do Boomers love the challenge of training and participating in multi-sport events, but they love the social aspect associated with the sports. Most major cities, and even most smaller cities, have formed groups and organizations designed to train and support these athletes. Search online for groups that meet or train near you. So, in addition to improving and maintaining fitness levels, these sports offer a great avenue for remaining social and for expanding social circles during retirement.

Water Sports
As Boomers age, many are attracted to water sports as a form of physical fitness as they are often less intense and easier on the joints and muscles, while still offering a great form of physical exercise. Many gyms now offer water exercise classes, specifically focused on the retirement market. And for those looking for more independent exercise programs, swimming is a great option. Whether swimming in a gym pool, open water swimming or in your backyard, this form of exercise enhances your body’s overall strength, works to improve cardiovascular health and enhances endurance.

Whether you are already physically active, or are looking to become more active during retirement, you will find a variety of options to fit your budget, schedule and preferences. Because the Boomer generation represents a significant percentage of the population, you will find many of the fitness centers and gyms catering to your demographic. Be sure to leverage discounts, special courses or classes and any other benefits offered to retirees when joining a fitness club or gym. And, before you begin any new fitness program, be sure to speak with your physician, as your health is crucial!

Julie Welch

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