It’s been said that 60 is the new 30, and instead of giggling at the thought, communities and businesses are finding out just how true that statement can be. Baby Boomers are skewing every trend in retail, in the job market, in the transportation and housing markets, and in the fitness market. Unlike the sweeping changes in other industries, the active aging influence on the fitness market shows up in product evolution and some graying of the user community, as the expectations for an active workout using trend-setting, advanced fitness amenities are stronger than ever.
“For the best fitness facility around, you might try a 55+ community”
Lyon Homes in Cypress California is a key example. For the Lyon Ovation at Flora Park, a 55+ community, they wanted a “best-of-the-best” fitness center to “wow” potential buyers. “The 55+ buyer is anything but sedentary, and the Lyon team knew exactly who they needed to serve and what their needs and expectations were,” said Eric Jenican, one of the wellness specialists concentrating on the active aging market for Advanced Exercise. “It was my job to help create the high-end fitness experience for their community, including everything from group exercise options, yoga and group cycling spaces, and the right mix of cardio and strength equipment. It was a great collaborative, forward-thinking project to envision and equip the right fitness center design for them, and they loved the outcome.”
There’s even an outdoor fitness space with a multi-functional SYNRGY piece of equipment, so that residents can train outdoors, which many prefer since they can combine a functional workout with open sky and fresh air.
Form and Function for 55+ Fitness
The Pardee Homes Altis property went even further, taking ultimate care that their equipment mix included fall-prevention and cognitive improvement benefits specifically aimed at the active aging population.
For example, Pardee worked with Jenican and Advanced Exercise to make sure fall prevention was a priority based on the health and wellness needs of older adults. Since most falls for adults occur from side-to-side, Pardee and Advanced Exercise added the SciFit Latitude Lateral Stability Trainer into the mix on the fitness floor, a piece of equipment that helps older adults maintain balance and lateral strength. “It has a unique, circular pedal path that exercises the lateral stability muscles and exercises the pathways in the brain for lateral stability,” added Jenican. “Exercising with this piece helps people be more apt to catch themselves in a fall situation.”
Right down the way from the SciFit trainer is are the Expresso Bikes, with 26.5” HD screens that display virtual group cycling classes as well as road courses and games that the rider actually steers and changes gears to manage (based on what they are viewing on the screen). Just like riding a real bike, the cerebral involvement in decision-making and fine motor control is critical. Engaging both of those mental systems helps reduce cognitive decline in older adults, and Pardee wanted that benefit evident in their fitness and wellness center.
Pardee’s market research showed that 6- 7 of the top 10 amenities desired in a 55+ community had to do with fitness and wellness, and they wanted a fitness center that featured the latest and greatest options, speaking directly to the buyer’s aspirational desires to be “stronger, healthier and more fit than ever.” They also wanted to cover a wide range of physical functionality, from the aging tri-athlete to first time fitness center users. To accomplish it all, expert help was needed.
“There are so many truly outstanding features it would be hard to list them all,” admitted Jenican. “Any person with any level of physical functionality can enter the space and get excited about all of the equipment choices they have to help them be more strong and fit, and that’s what we were after.”
At the Altis open house, the Pardee executives were beaming when they showed off the fitness center to their colleagues and family members. Jenican echoes that sentiment: “I’m most proud of the fact that Advanced Exercise truly has the variety of equipment to help a client like Pardee create a 55+ fitness center that is not only the ‘best of the best’, but genuinely will help older adults stay strong and fit and help them stay healthier and have greater quality of life deeper into life.”
Believe it or not, this was Pardee’s first 55+ fitness center, but they’re off to a strong start, along with other leading-edge communities serving the active aging marketplace.
Fitness Facilities are Fabulous for the 55+ Crowd
According to industry pundits “North American senior communities are in the middle of a fitness center renaissance, with Baby Boomers driving demand for comprehensive wellness programs, coaching, and high-end equipment for cardio, strength, and balance. More than 80% of 700 communities surveyed in the US and Canada say they’re planning fitness center expansions and upgrades soon, and these aren’t just cosmetic changes – their plans come with a median price tag of $2 million. Other communities already have extensive fitness offerings in place.”
Athletic Business, the leading publication covering fitness facilities and equipment, supports the approach of communities like Pardee, as “retirement communities are choosing fitness machines based features that benefit all exercisers but are especially helpful for older adults. Equipment that uses air-pressure resistance rather than gravity and stacked weights, for example, allows for finer control over increases in workout difficulty while protecting users’ joints from jolting movements. Machines that make allowances for balance difficulties and limited mobility are also in demand.” That’s where the equipment selection expertise that teams like Advanced Exercise come in.
The vast number of fitness products and innovations can be daunting to navigate, especially when you have space and budget parameters to work within. The Advanced Exercise team stands at the ready to help you with any of the above or an expansive range of other options for fitness facilities of all types. With strong expertise in designing and equipping fitness spaces for any and all interests, Advanced Exercise consultants can help identify, clarify and create those exceptional community qualities that set your offerings apart from the crowd.
About Advanced Exercise
Founded in 1986, Advanced Exercise is a leading fitness equipment and facility design resource, combining more than 30 years of design expertise with access to top fitness, wellness and recreation equipment brands to help clients create fitness experiences specific to the needs of their distinct communities. Advanced Exercise fitness consultants work with clients to maximize the use of available space in any facility, sourcing the best new or used equipment solutions for diverse ranges of fitness amenity end users. For more information on fitness equipment and facility design services, visit www.advancedexercise.com or call 800-520-1112 to connect with one of Advanced Exercise’s experts.