Baby boomers who want to stay healthy while they age are driving a new demand in fitness centers designed specifically for older adults, according to The Star Tribune.
John Seward, 62, told the news source that he had been physically active in his 20s, but his career and home life quickly took up so much free time that there was little room in his schedule to go to the gym.
Now, he is motivated to exercise due to health concerns. This year, he has undergone a kidney transplant and open-heart surgery and has placed a much greater emphasis on fitness.
"Some people who have medical problems will be there just to stay young or stay fit or look better," he told the news provider. "But a whole bunch of people are in the same boat as I was and are there to stay alive."
Seward recently joined the Welcyon, a fitness center in Edina, Minnesota, that caters to those age 50 and older. All of the equipment in the gym is seated, except for one elliptical machine, and the weights are air-pressured, which makes them easier to control and quieter.
Colin Milner, the CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, claims that these age-specific gyms are growing in popularity as baby boomers age. He informed the news source that every older adult should at least work their legs, and also do cardiovascular exercises for at least 2.5 hours each week, along with several sessions of strength training.
"Research shows that exercise can be as effective, if not more, than medication," he told the news provider. "By doing a basic fitness program, people can be stronger, walk up stairs better and prevent falling or reduce the risk of falling, which is really important since research shows that one of three people over the age of 65 fall every year."
PennLive.com reports that boomers may want to adjust their fitness regimens to their age by engaging in more low-impact activities, such as walking, until they can build up to other exercises.
Staying physically active can be an effective way at reducing the risk of a fall, but not eliminating it. Those who want to stay fit should also consider investing in a senior alert system, which is a medical alarm that can be used to contact neighbors or a physician in the case of an unexpected injury.