Scarves and ponchos are among the things I would expect to boast a ‘one-size-fits-all’ label. Fitness clubs simply cannot. They are finally starting to realize that exercise classes don’t possess universal appeal and that they have to target their demographics very specifically. This is bringing about a booming trend for 2011: age-tailored exercising.
The fastest growing market, with the most expendable time and money, is the baby boomers. Men and women of this generation are dominating health clubs which is bringing about a rise in activities that appeal to them. The second largest demographic is kids, ages six to 17. As Meredith Poppler of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association says, “Youth programming is a hot topic.” We must stop the rise of obesity now and the only way to do that, to truly eradicate obesity, is to educate and motivate our children. People are clearly understanding this message and gyms are responding with more family-friendly activities.
Gyms are having to work pretty hard to lure in the rest of us. Many are offering specialty niches for the groups that need a bit more of a challenge to keep them interested. Some of the most popular classes in gyms across America are:
- Sports and cross-training such as tennis and triathlons
- Martial Arts and boxing
- Choreographed dance such as Zumba and “cardio striptease”
- No-nonsense bootcamp-style workouts
Many personal trainers and wellness coaches offer group rates and discounts for those who also purchase a gym membership. These price cuts make what was once an elite activity available to a larger number of people. Poppler sums up the trends we’re seeing in the industry by saying, “People are looking to health clubs for overall well being, not just for building muscle or losing weight — because they feel so much better, rather than because they look better in a bathing suit.” I know that’s what I’m in it for!