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Gyms opening with seniors in mind

May 14, 2013

Exercise is a staple of healthy aging, but many seniors have to modify their activities to account for things like aging joints or a smaller range of motion. With 10,000 people turning 65 each day, there is a growing call for fitness centers that cater specifically to older adults - many of whom place a heavy emphasis on staying physically fit - and a number of gyms around the country are helping meet that demand, Reuters reports.

Among those who have pioneered the senior-specific gym are Suzy and Tom Boerboom. The husband-and-wife duo has opened a series of fitness centers throughout Minnesota and South Dakota at which the average age of members is 62. Their offerings include low-impact aerobic exercises as well as air-powered resistance training. Additionally, the atmosphere is better-suited for the older clientele, with music from the 1950s and '60s playing at lower volumes. Suzy Boerboom says she and her husband plan on expanding their operation in the coming months and years. 

"There are over 70 million of us boomers," she told Reuters. "And we have to take care of ourselves."

Members at Boerboom's gyms are certainly not the only older adults recognizing that physical fitness is a key part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. According to a recent study from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, gym membership among adults 55-and-older swelled to 10.5 million in 2008, up from 1.5 million in 1987. Seniors are certainly making the right choice, as exercise offers older adults numerous benefits. For starters, it can help seniors manage pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, as well as protect them from cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.