Guest Column - September 2009
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Fitness & Exercise

Effective Fitness Programs for Aging Boomers

By Judy Greer


A second phase of the study focused on whether participants could row without causing or aggravating neck and shoulder pain or stiffness. In this group, 25 percent of participants had existing transient shoulder pain or stiffness that completely resolved, and 19 percent of participants had existing transient neck pain or stiffness that completely resolved. Alan M. noted, "my neck stiffness has decreased since rowing, I can now look over my shoulder while driving."

Penfield concluded that interval indoor rowing classes were a safe and effective way to improve strength and flexibility for her members over the age of 60. A structured program of rowing with specific therapeutic exercises allowed Penfield's members to participate in a group—regardless of medical limitations and at various fitness levels. She implemented group rowing classes because it filled members' needs and, just as importantly, allowed her to maximize the use of existing equipment.

When designing new programming, consider classes that target specific populations. Baby boomers are often an easy group to consider based on their sheer numbers, but they are also a good group to focus on because they have identifiable and unique needs. As baby boomers age and transition into retirement, they want exercises that help them fight the realities of aging. Creative programming engages these individuals and gives them reasons to be loyal and participatory members.

Show members the value of their memberships by designing programs with measurable results and fitness gains. Marketing these benefits can help attract more participants for future classes. Compare different programs by quantifying results, and determine what programs offer the most benefits. Then consider the costs: A study can measure the value of different equipment purchases. Effective programs may not require any new equipment when creative programs target specific populations.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judy Geer graduated from Dartmouth College, which is where she began her competitive rowing career. She went on to compete as a member of the U.S. National Rowing Team for nine years, including the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympics. She also coached women's rowing at Dartmouth College, and continues to coach sculling at the Craftsbury Sculling Center. Judy joined Concept2 in 1983 and is now a member of the marketing team, where she enjoys the challenge of keeping customers motivated and enthusiastic about rowing. For more information, visit www.concept2.com.