As the number of Baby Boomers increases, gym owners should consider reaching out to this population. Providing senior-specific fitness programming during peak senior hours could prove to be personally and financially rewarding as well.
Three ways to include activities and programming specific to seniors involve offering support, providing club recognition and creating fun activities.
Facilities could reach out to Baby Boomers by offering program extensions focusing on effective stretching. Stretching helps to reduce injuries, possible sprains or strains, and tension in the muscles. Stretching also increases energy, flexibility and coordination. Effective stretching can be useful for any age group by enhancing coordination of muscles and easing tension. Often, these techniques can be used before, during and after exercise for increased results. Clubs that stress the importance of stretching techniques could help patrons remember to do the techniques during their individual fitness routines.
Recognition is another way clubs can build rapport with members and guests who are seniors. Quarterly signs of appreciation for seniors could increase membership and set the tone that exercise is a fitness lifestyle that is worthwhile and extends throughout life. When members feel appreciated, they are more inclined to visit often, increase expenditure and share their positive experiences with others. Recognizing seniors who are the most active, fit and motivational could even change the entire climate of the facility. Sending a friendly flyer or getting to know your members also builds rapport and appreciation that can translate into added member retention.
Supplying fun activities relating partially to senior participants is another way to make seniors feel welcomed and appreciated. Facilities might play music from an era seniors can appreciate. Clubs could even provide giveaways or special group-related activities to get the members engaged and eager to participate. Management and staff may also provide periodic guided tours of the facility to help senior members become familiar with the equipment. This added bonus will help to ease member uncertainty and also gain knowledge of how to best use equipment for best results. Facilities could invite area associations to participate in expo-related events geared only to seniors (i.e. Association of Senior Citizens, American Citizens Association of America and American Association of Retired Persons). The expo would allow members to see other options available in their communities as well as give the facility added exposure.
David Russell holds a B.A. and M.S. degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a certificate in educational leadership from the University of West Georgia and a certificate in sports management from Gwinnett Technical College. He has worked in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years, receiving certifications in aquatic fitness, personal training, Pilates, nutritional coaching, and yoga. Russell is the founder and owner of Tenacious Fitness Unlimited Inc. (678-523-0092) and Spiffy Cleaning Service (678-523-0092), both in Norcross, GA.