ACTIVE AGEING - WHY FOCUS ON THIS CLIENT GROUP?

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The aim of this blog is to highlight a few key insights into this client group, and some factors to consider when providing an exercise experience that could be used to support adherence, and retention of this client group.  

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA-2012), “Population ageing can no longer be ignored. Globally, the proportion of older persons is growing at a faster rate than the general population.

“With one in nine persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to one in five by 2050, population ageing is a phenomenon that we can no longer ignore.

“The opportunities that this presents are as endless as the contributions that a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population can bring to society.”

Euromonitor forecasts that the global spending power of those aged 60 and above will reach $15tn by 2020 [1]. This is probably one of the most predictable and visible trends. But consumer companies don’t seem clear on how to respond. [1]

It’s very clear that this client group cannot be ignored by the fitness industry any longer. Providers of fitness need to take note of the global information, and consider creating fitness experiences that will be enjoyed by sections of this client group. But what should you do?

The first consideration is: you cannot please everyone, and this client group is no different. Just as with every generation, the differences within a population group are vast, it would be costly to aim for everyone in this client group, so be specific, research your local area, find out if there are specialist in the senior market working in your area that are providing other services, housing, travel, beauty, insurance, retail, and learn from them. Who are they targeting [specifically]? What are they offering? How do they offer their service? What adaptations have they made to their offering, in relation to their standard packages? How have they created an experience for this target market?

Consider the changes that happen with age, and make adjustments to your experience offering. Larger fonts in advertising and promotion around your facility may help this client group feel more welcomed, and help create an improved sense of belonging. Educate staff on the importance of adapting workouts, in both complexity and intensity. A small exercise modification delivered just at the right time, with the right balance of empathy and concern, will create trust with this client group, and with more trust comes more value, with more value comes an enhanced reputation.

Posters, slogans, images and marketing have to change! A facility needs to position itself in the mind of the client as a specialist, one that the ageing population can feel comfortable [safe] in becoming a regular user of. If it is to attract this client group, the facility should position ageing as a LIFESTYLE, not as an OUTCOME! [2] This will contribute to the building of a strong community.

The whole industry needs to take note of this growing population group, not just the facility operators but also the equipment manufacturers, and the global educators. As an industry, we need to do what’s right! We need to ensure that this user group is allowed to exercise safety, effectively, and in environments that build confidence, and that develops internal motivation, wrapped around an experience that is trusting, and liberating, rather than full of anxiety, self-doubt, and dread. No longer can this client group be known as a special population: they are fast becoming the general population.

So, why focus on this client group? They are growing in number, with more leisure time than other population groups and a disposable income. They will soon be the largest part of our committees, if they are not already. If as a facility, or Personal Trainer, you want to diversify and create a different exercise offering, then this is an opportunity for you to create something unique.  

[1] FT London 2014, [2] adapted from FT 2014

Active Ageing
fitness for older adults
Active Ageing
 

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