Age-Appropriate Exercise Classes: A Growing Trend

Even when classes are advertised as appropriate for "all levels," instructors and students know that's not always accurate information.  That's why fitness centers are now tailoring classes to fit the needs of specific demographics.  Age-appropriate exercise classes are gaining ground and bringing people back to the gym.

If you've ever been the beginner in a fast-paced spinning or dance class only to find yourself lagging behind and over your head, you know how discouraging that can be. It's even more uncomfortable if you're the oldest or youngest in the class.  Many people give up after the first class due to embarrassment and frustration.  Some people "age out" of their aerobics, circuit training, or step classes when the music gets too young or too old for them.  Or, they get bored when their class is too slow-paced, light-weight, and better suited for another age and fitness bracket. And where do you put the kids?  As America faces its childhood obesity epidemic, fitness clubs realize that classes for children are fundamentally different than classes aimed at adults.

These are just some of the problems the fitness industry faced at the end the 1990s and early 2000s. People were leaving their gym memberships behind in droves. They complainined that they were burned out on "group classes," but market research revealed people were just tired of working out with the wrong group.  Fitness centers faced up to the fact that different demographics have different fitness needs and desires, and if they were going to keep their doors open, they'd better meet those needs.

Check in with most gyms today and you'll find age appropriate exercise classes designed specifically for seniors and children, but also a wider variety of classes targeting adults in their 20s through 50's.  Rock climbing and cardio-boxing are designed to appeal to the 20 and 30-somethings (though all ages are welcome) while Zumba seems to appeal more to 30 and 40-something women.  SilverSneakers® classes are customized for the over-60 and specifically focused on flexibility, balance, and strength training along with aerobics. There are yoga classes for children, pregnant mothers, people recovering from illness and back pain, seniors and more.  There are strength training classes for people with special needs and aerobics classes for people who live in wheelchairs. You name it; you can find a  class that fits your needs.

How do you find the right class for you? Ask your friends and do some online research before you commit to a gym membership.  Check the class schedule and descriptions.  Then, make an appointment for a gym tour and try out a few different group classes.  Don't get discouraged if a class is too challenging.  Sometimes, all it takes is a little time and before you know it, you just may be at the head of the class.