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Aug 1, 2020

Our population is growing and getting older. Several studies in the field of ageing have shown that being physically active is important for this population group. Being physically active contributes to longevity, even if you only start exercising during your senior years, it has a significant positive impact. But being active is not just about adding years to your life, it is also about adding quality life to your years.

By getting and staying active as a senior, you can boost your energy, maintain your independence, protect your heart and control the symptoms of illness or pain as well as your weight. Regular exercise is also good for your mind, mood and memory.

The older target group is a group that is becoming increasingly health conscious and is looking for ways to exercise in a safe and enjoyable way. Seniors have the time, money and motivation to remain healthy and physically active, so make sure that you, as a fitness entrepreneur, do not overlook this target group and its potential members.

In most fitness clubs, people of all age categories are members and logically a fitness club has more members in certain categories than in others. In addition to, for example, well-earning singles, pensioners are an interesting target group for fitness centres. A good and attractive offer for senior citizens can help with retention and consistency within your club.

Senior citizens are attractive to a fitness club because they usually have enough time to exercise. They do not only come to exercise during peak hours, but especially during off-peak hours to maintain their condition. For the fitness club it is an ideal way to realise a continuous occupation. Moreover, seniors are often wealthy and generally prefer a more expensive subscription with more services and personal attention, rather than a cheap subscription in a budget club.

Attracting more senior citizens to your fitness club not only increases your membership, but also your retention rate. It is therefore advisable for fitness entrepreneurs to increase their insight into the specific wishes and needs of this older target group.

Below are a few points of interest that are important when responding to and attracting an older target group.

Adapt the personnel policy to the specific target group(s) you want to address. Finding the right staff is of great importance. The interaction with instructors is an important component in how satisfied seniors are with a fitness club. They find good guidance and coaching very important. Not only physically, but also personally. The instructor must be able to adapt his/her guidance to both the physical aspect and the personal aspect (with rest, humour and attention). If a senior really feels that the trainer cares about him/her, he/she will not leave to go and work out at another fitness club.

Employ staff who are punctual and friendly and also have the patience to work with seniors. Elderly people value expert and reliable advice. The staff should have enough knowledge to advise this target group. An older fitness instructor with life experience is an advantage here.

Provide a range of activities that appeals to senior citizens and that is tailored to the physical capabilities and goals of this target group. Your offer should include activities that the older members enjoy doing. Because of the social aspects, sports in groups are preferred by this target group. Group fitness is a very good retention tool. Creating social groups within a fitness club improves the relationship aspect, which helps with member retention. Seniors are not likely to quit or move to another fitness club if they have built up social contacts in their club.

Fun and safety go hand in hand. Make sure that the group lessons are technically sound and safe. Instructors should build up their lessons at an appropriate pace and, if necessary, repeat exercises. This is to avoid a certain degree of frustration. Challenge seniors both mentally and physically. Appropriate music for group lessons is important for a good feeling and atmosphere in the lesson. Take the volume of the music into account.

Functional training with personal guidance and aqua classes are also popular and suitable for older members. Schedule these activities in the mornings and off-peak hours. Be consistent with class times and days.

Offering a special subscription for senior citizens that allows them to work out at a reduced rate during off-peak hours often has a motivating effect. In addition, cooperation with a physiotherapist in your fitness centre is certainly worth considering if you have or want to attract many older members.

In order to reach seniors, marketing actions and advertising campaigns will have to focus on this target group. Create a feeling of understanding towards this target group in your messaging. Also adjust your visual material to this. So, no trained young people in trendy sportswear, but vital, happy and healthy-looking middle-aged sportspeople. Think of good names for your range of senior activities. Class names such as 60+Fit and 70+Fit sound less attractive than Vitaal&Fit.

Promote your senior programmes in senior centres. Work together with physiotherapists and doctors. Promote your message through posters, billboards, newsletters, e-mails, mailbox leaflets, etc. In addition to these advertising media, word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the most effective advertisements.

If you follow the points of interest mentioned in this article, your senior members are likely to be your best ambassadors and will bring in new members by word of mouth.

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