Baby boomers are hot--and not just because of their well-defined biceps. This generation is 78 million strong and their interest in an active lifestyle is creating a boon of business opportunities for entrepreneurs. In this economy, "the timing is perfect," says Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. "Boomers are looking for organizations that can address their needs more specifically and they're not finding them. Because of that, those that are entrepreneurial are creating them."
Milner, who has been active in the health and fitness industry since 1982, has witnessed the growing accommodations for baby boomers--and he says the trend is here to stay. "Research shows you're never too late to start a physical activity or fitness program," he says. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out, 'If I'm going to grow my business, I have to start looking at the baby boomers.'"
10.5 million health club members in the U.S. are 55 and older.
23 percent of health club memberships are held by those aged 50 and older. This age group averages more than 100 days of gymattendanceper year and is the most affluent group of healthclub members.
25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 engage in regular leisure-time physical activity.
28 percent of those aged 65 and older exercise frequently or regularly.
The most popular fitness activities among older adults include aerobic exercise, Tai Chi, treadmills, walking, water aerobics and weight or resistance machines.
28.6 percent of those 55 years and older engage in physical activity 50 or more times a year.
23 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds use personal trainers.
37.7 percent of those aged 45 to 64 purchased more fitness equipment than any other age group in 2008.
48 percent of those aged 65 to 74 visit or attend exercise programs.
13 percent of 65- to 74-year-olds participate in sports.
36 percent of spa clients are 45 years and older.