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Finding the Health Clubs for the 50+ Crowd
Health clubs are no longer just for the young and buff. Many are geared toward older adults.
Miriam decided to join a health club after knee replacement surgery. She did not want to be around sweaty weight lifters and staff who talked about the latest fashion. At 77, she was looking for a comfortable environment.
Fortunately, Miriam found that health clubs have changed a lot over the years. "It is very, very, comfortable," she says of her new club. "It has a knowledgeable staff and programs for all ages."
There are many reasons to exercise—for health benefits, social life, or stress relief. The good news is there are health clubs that focus on the needs of older adults.
You Are Not Alone
If you prefer to work out with more older adults, here are some steps to take:
- Visit different health clubs—even if you have to look further from home.
- Try working out during the day rather than evenings and weekends.
- When visiting a health club, ask if they have programs for older adults.
Just for You
Think about your needs. You may want to try:
- A one-on-one personalized health and workout assessment
- Working one-on-one with a trainer—especially if it has been a long time since you have exercised
Proper training is important. You need to be comfortable with the exercises. Your exercise routine should match your abilities and goals.
Many health clubs also offer special programs for older adults. Try a sample of different activities. Get a balance of strength and cardio. Also talk to instructors about other classes that may fit your interest and fitness level.
Before You Begin
Before you sign up for a health club:
- Visit several health clubs to see where you feel most comfortable.
- Try the health club before you decide to join. Visit at the time of day you plan to use the health club.
- Notice who is at the health club and how crowded it is. Will you have to wait in line for equipment?
Monthly fees for health clubs can vary greatly. There may also be fees for different services, classes, or to use certain areas—such as a pool or racquetball court. Check for discounts for older adults from the gym, or from your insurance company. Be careful not to pay for more than what you will need or use.
Beginning an exercise program can be a big task. Finding the right health club will get you one step closer to your fitness goals. And you may have fun in the process.
American College of Sports Medicine
National Institute on Aging
Active Aging Canada
Exercise and seniors. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/exercise-seniors/. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Find a fitness center that fits you. AARP website. Available at: https://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-02-2011/find%5Fa%5Ffitness%5Fcenter%5Fthat%5Ffits%5Fyou.html. Accessed October 19, 2021.
Guide to the Silver Sneakers Program. Aging in Place website. Available at: https://aginginplace.org/guide-to-the-silversneakers-program. Accessed October 19, 2021.
How health clubs can help seniors to get active. The Global Health and Fitness Association website. Available at: https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/how-health-clubs-can-help-seniors-get-active. Accessed October 19, 2021.