New Zealand is seeing a substantial increase in demand from the older ageing population for fitness, exercise and personal trainers, according to ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie.
He says they now know not only that exercise is needed as people we age, but also why this is the case. There are many providers catering for the ageing market, something that was rare 15 years ago.
Waikato University health and behaviour doctoral candidate Wendy Sweet says today’s ageing population, especially in the developed world, have many advantages over previous generations – not least access to research into ways to stave off age-related conditions.
Beddie says Baby Boomers who have not yet retired are in an excellent position to take advantage of significant positive benefits of exercise as well as increase both their life expectancy and their enjoyment of their later years. Living longer is not enough anymore. We know people want to live better and longer, by being active now.
“We believe the key message should be regardless of age, start now. Because even people who are already in the older age demographic, starting now will have huge benefits, and the corollary of that is the earlier the better. People should think of exercise as their body’s retirement savings system – the sooner people start, and the more they do, the better they will be.
“The key thing in starting now is do so in manageable micro-steps. In many cases finding an activity that the person enjoys is key, be it dancing, tai chi, yoga, Pilates or going to the gym. While there is a lot of information and guidelines about how much activity to do, in the short term the focus should be on forming a habit of being active – and using this to build towards long-term regular exercise.”
Beddie says hundreds of Kiwi personal trainers, gyms and fitness facilities are seeing a surge in older people seeking to get fitter. New Zealand’s best trainers and gyms will be vying for honours at the Exercise NZ awards 2017 in Auckland on November 25.
“ExerciseNZ is excited that there has never been so much interest in how Kiwis are ageing. With the last of the Baby Boomers heading into retirement over the next decade, they are not only the next generation of older people but they will be the fittest ever in our country’s history,” Beddie says.