Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fitness Industry and the 50-plus - an overlooked opportunity

Kim Walker has an interesting post about way that companies have overlooked the provision of fitness equipment and services for older people. There are numerous reports showing how beneficial exercise is for older people, both physical and mental, yet few companies have pursued this as a business opportunity.

I have written about a couple of companies that have ‘got it’. My favourite is Concept2 rowing machines, I am sure there are others, but not that many.

Should gyms be age-silo or age-neutral? What I mean is, would specialist gyms for older people be more successful than a multi-age gym, that realise that a large number of their members are at least 50-plus. I reckon that 50% of my gym’s membership is over-50 and during mid morning and mid afternoon periods they are in the large majority.

I guess some older people would prefer to be in a gym surrounded by their own age. Is that 10% or 50% - no idea? For sure, you could optimise the use of space and the type of equipment, if all of your customers were 50-plus. Part of the positive experience of using a gym, for me, is it being multi-generational with lots of noise and energy. That said, there are lots of ways the gym could be more older-friendly.

What is crazy is that few, if any, fitness companies are asking these questions. Dick Stroud

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