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Baby boomers behind trend of active seniors

July 26, 2012

With the older baby boomers turning 65 at a rate of about 10,000 per day, many people are noticing a difference in senior living. Even older adults outside of the generation, encouraged by the active lifestyles of boomers, are starting to become fitter than ever before, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports.

The trend has been noticed everywhere from retirement communities to fitness centers. Michael Cooper, who is the president of one South Carolina gym, is among those who have experienced the influx of older adults. He says his business has nearly 1,600 members who are over 50.

"More elderly and upper-age people are definitely exercising," he told the newspaper. "It definitely contributes to increasing their lifespan, health and quality of life."

The rise in the number of seniors hitting the gym has also spurred the creation of senior-specific exercise classes. The groups often focus on building abilities that are crucial parts of a healthy lifestyle for seniors including strength, balance and stamina. It's easy to see the benefits, experts say, which range from lower cholesterol levels to better posture and breathing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults over 65 get approximately 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, with two or three days of strength exercise mixed in.

The good news is that there are many exercises that are particularly well-suited for older adults. For seniors looking for endurance activities to boost heart health, everything from walking to water aerobics can offer numerous benefits while still being easy on their joints. According to the National Institute on Aging, even activities such as yard work or dancing are suitable alternatives.