A government initiative to encourage older adults to exercise in gyms has recently been launched in Australia. It will focus on gyms and the changes they can make to become more attractive to the baby boomer market. This poses an interesting question about the attitude, tone and programs of gyms, health clubs and PCYC’s.
If you talk to most gym managers they would vehemently argue that their gym is age and gender friendly but could this be a complete furphy? Ask any non-gym goer what they perceive fitness centres to be like and you may not get a pretty picture. However gyms have tried very hard to evolve from the Arnie body builder, Jane Fonda lycra clad stick-insect cliche, so why doesn’t it seem to be working?
What can be done to make gyms more inviting? Is it friendlier front desk staff, classes that cater for entry level fitness, banning of muscle-heads or reduction in the head-banging music often encountered? Or maybe the solution has already been found but not marketed correctly to the baby boomer population. How many over 50’s do you know who tried a gym once and will never go back? Maybe there needs to be a mass marketing campaign aimed directly at the baby boomers. If Winnebago can get that many grey nomads to up and move, so can the fitness industry!
What do you think can be done to attract such an important, growing segment of our society into gyms?