It’s only fitting that the generation that invented the physical fitness movement in an effort to ‘never get old’ now have fitness clubs cropping up across the U.S. that cater to Boomer fitness and health issues, says a recent report by Reuters News. Boomers are even becoming personal trainers to their own generation, helping other Boomers stay fit, slow down aging, and stay healthy. Todd Galati, American Certified Exercise (ACE) director of credentialing said: “Every year I talk to newly certified personal trainers, retired from their career in another field, who want to help people their age become more fit.”
At Welcyon Gyms, founded by a Boomer-age husband and wife team Suzy and Tom Boerboom with locations in Minnesota and South Dakota, the average age of their client members is 62. Welcyon has no treadmills and no free weights and workouts are customized to clients’ individual fitness levels. You won’t find any deafening boom box, hip-hop, or rap music at Welcyon either, like many gyms that focus on younger crowds. The environment is designed for those 50 and over and Boomer-generation music from the 50’s-60’s is heard at comfortable levels. Even the staff trainers are mostly Boomers.
Then there are Nifty After Fifty gyms with chains in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and New York. Founded by Dr. Sheldon S. Zinberg who saw the need when consistent research began to show that Boomers, instead of “never getting old”, were, in fact, getting sicker and sicker with higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol (known medically as metabolic syndrome). As Zinberg explained: “There is a big bad myth about the Boomer generation being more fit…In fact, the Boomer generation is less fit than their parents were at same age. At age 40 people lose 0.8 to 1 percent muscle mass each year. By age 60 this accelerates to 1.5 percent. ”
Dr. Zinberg advises people to get fit in their 40s and 50s, “and when you do become older, enjoy a supervised, customized program.”
Suzy Boerboom said Welcyon plans to open more gyms later this year. “There are over 70 million of us boomers, and we have to take care of ourselves.”