Fitness After 50: The Gym Goes Gray
Baby boomers are flocking to fitness centers in record numbers
50-and-Up Fitness: What You Must Know
While the spirit may be willing, experts say, by the time you're 50 or
older, your body needs a little extra attention if you are to benefit in both
the short and the long run.
Some experts worry that not every gym or health club is up to the
"The shift towards getting fit after 50 is definitely taking place, but
unfortunately, the staff and instructors at many gyms and fitness clubs are not
really set up for this paradigm change," says Robert Catalini, an exercise
physiologist and director of the Holy Redeemer Health and Fitness Center at
Holy Redeemer Medical Center in Meadowbrook, Pa.
This is particularly important for those who have not exercised in the past
or who have become sedentary in recent years, he says.
"The longer it has been since you set foot inside a gym, the more you are
going to have to rely on your instructors to guide you to the right kinds of
activities, so it's important that they really know what they are doing, " says
Moreover, Catalini says, if you're already saddled with health issues --
like achy joints, bad knees, or back pain -- as well as risk factors for heart
disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity, you need to
be doubly sure you're getting the right advice.
"There's no question you can do it, and should do it, but there are certain
things you have to pay attention to, and certain guidelines you have to follow,
and they can't be the same ones you followed in your 20s or 30s or even 40s,"
7 Ways to Ensure Success
To help put you on the path to a fit and healthy future, Bryant and Catalini
offer the following guidelines to help ensure your midlife workout plan is a
1. Ask questions, particularly if you have health concerns: Can you
accommodate my bad back, do you have instructors with a background in cardio
exercise, is your pool heated and to what temperature? Anything that affects
your condition should be addressed well before you sign on the dotted line.
Also make certain that the instructors have experience coaching regular folks
(not athletes) over 50.