Seniors Getting Smarter About Fitness

An interesting and promising sign seniors are getting smarter about optimizing their health through exercise: Older patrons make up the fastest growing segment of the health club industry.

Patients over age 55 account for some 17 percent of this nation's health club members. More than 10 million seniors were enrolled in a health club in 2004, five times the number from a decade ago.

Although health clubs still cater largely to younger folks, many have begun to reach out to baby boomers and seniors, with classes devoted to low-impact activities, aerobics, tai chi and yoga.

The trick about exercise: If you want to get healthy, try viewing it like a drug that needs to be precisely prescribed to achieve maximum benefits.

I've devoted many pages on my Web site to help you get started on an exercise. I urge you to start with my beginner's page, or review some of the previous columns I've posted by contributing editors Paul Chek and Ben Lerner.

MSNBC September 8, 2005

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