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Keeping older adults motivated at the gym and fitness center can be challenging. As we get older, our bodies change, making hitting the gym less fun than it used to be. 

Fortunately, your members won’t stop coming back anytime soon with the proper techniques and strategies. So, how do you keep older members coming back again and again? Here are some tips to help you engage them so they’ll return again and again!

As a gym owner, keeping older fitness center members engaged and coming back for more can be a challenge. They often have more experience and knowledge than younger members, and they can be less interested in traditional workout routines.

However, you can encourage them to stick around and even get involved in your center's community with the right approach. This article will discuss some fun and effective ways to engage older fitness center members!

Why Do You Need To Engage Older Fitness Center Members?

Older fitness center members are a valuable asset to the fitness industry. They often have years of experience working out and staying fit, and they can be great role models for younger members.

In addition, engaging older members can help your business in several ways. First, it can help you attract new members, as older adults are often more likely to recommend a gym or fitness center that they're happy with. Encouraging members to refer their friends is a great way to grow your business!

Second, it can help with member retention, as engaging older members can keep them coming back for more. Finally, it can help you increase revenue, as engaged members are more likely to participate in paid programs and services.

How Can You Engage Older Fitness Center Members?

There are many ways to engage older fitness center members, but here are a few fun and effective ideas:

Offer Specialized Classes

One great way to engage older members is to offer specialized group exercise classes that cater to their interests and needs. For example, many older adults enjoy low-impact exercise classes such as yoga or Tai Chi.

Others may prefer group fitness classes such as water-based workouts or dance classes. By offering various options, you can ensure that there is something for everyone.

Usual exercise buddy moves are also a great way to engage fitness center members. Personal training services are another example of engaging fitness center members in a more personal way.

Offer Social Events To Build Connections Between Members

A great way to keep members engaged is to make sure they have friends at the gym. You can do this by hosting social events like ice breakers, table tennis tournaments, or potluck lunches.

You can also encourage members to participate in other events, like 5K charity runs, in the area. Doing so makes members feel connected and helps them stay active and engaged in their fitness.

You can also create a sense of community by engaging older members in social activities outside the gym. For example, you could organize group outings to local attractions or host special events at the gym. This will allow them to meet other members and form bonds that will keep them coming back.

Hold Events For Older Members

While you might host events for all your members, those over 50 are less likely to attend social events. That may be because they feel self-conscious about their age, or it could be that they don’t want to feel left out.

Holding events like group fitness challenges, cooking demonstrations, or workshops is a great way to get your older members engaged and excited about your fitness center! Plus, it’s a great way to build community by bringing people together who, otherwise, might not interact.

If you’re not sure what types of events to host, ask your members what they’d like to see at your gym. Chances are, there are a lot of activities that are more appealing to older adults that you might not be offering.nutritionist-giving-consultation-patient-with-healthy-fruit-vegetable-right-nutrition-diet

Provide Nutritional Counseling And Showers

Helping people live healthier, more active lives is one of the best ways to engage them at the gym. Many older adults are also dealing with some chronic health conditions, like arthritis or diabetes.

That can make it harder to remain active and fit. Providing nutritional counseling on-site is an excellent way to help members meet their health goals and keep coming back. You can also provide helpful information in person (or online via your fitness center’s website) about best managing chronic conditions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that older adults may not be able to shower at home the way they used to. If that’s the case, it’s essential to provide showers at your gym so members don’t feel like they have to skip a day of working out because they can’t get clean enough.


Communicate Members’ Benefits And Rewards Clearly

Members over 50 may feel less motivated to return to the gym if they aren’t getting their money’s worth. If they aren’t sure about the benefits and rewards of being a part of your fitness center, they’re less likely to return.

So, communicate benefits like discounts on food, free classes, a waived initiation fee, or membership discounts at other fitness centers in the area.

Keeping your members informed about what’s available to them goes a long way towards keeping them engaged and feeling like their membership is worth it!

Add Equipment That’s Easier For Older Adults To Use

One of the biggest complaints among older adults at gyms is that they don’t feel like they can use some of the equipment because it’s too hard to get into or out of the equipment.

If that sounds familiar, adding equipment that’s easier to use is an excellent way to engage your older members. This can mean chairs or benches for weightlifting, easier-to-use bars for exercises like lifts and bench presses, and different sizes of weights so everyone can get a good fit.

Please consult with your older members about what would be best for them and their exercise routine. Personal trainers specializing in working with older club members can also be an excellent resource for finding the right equipment.

Keep Programs And Classes Exciting And Interesting

If older members are bored, they’re less likely to keep coming back. Keep programs and your exercise class exciting and enjoyable by adding new exercises and movements to your repertoire. You could also experiment with different teaching styles.

If you’re using a lecturing teaching style, try transitioning to more of a guided discovery-type of teaching. Discovering others is an excellent way to keep members engaged and excited.

Utilize Technology To Make Workouts Easier

Older adults are very familiar with technology and may use it regularly to schedule doctor’s appointments for grocery shopping.

Utilizing technology at the gym, like a fitness app with programs that guides members through workouts, can make an older person’s life much easier. It can also help members who struggle with mobility and range of motion issues like arthritis.

Celebrate Milestones And Victories With Your Members

One of the best ways to engage your older members is by celebrating their successes and milestones. If a member has been trying to lose weight for a long time and recently hit their goal, celebrate with them!

You could celebrate at the gym or invite them to go out with the staff. The best way to engage your members is to acknowledge the victories they have while they’re happening.

Note when someone achieves a milestone, like hitting a particular weight goal, or wins a contest, no matter how small. That can go a long way towards keeping your members engaged and returning again and again,businessman-hand-thumb-up-with-smile-face-five-stars-excellent-evaluation-result-customer-satisfaction-concept

Ask For Feedback

It would be best if you did this for all of your members, particularly the older ones. You want to know what works and what doesn’t so you can keep engaging your members and making their experience better.

Ask what they like (and don’t like!) about the gym, their favorite instructors, and what they’d like to see more of or less of. You can learn what’s engaging them, what’s keeping them coming back, and what you need to improve on.two-young-women-exercising-with-ropes-ropes-gym-woman-doing-rope-workout-together-with-trainer

Create A Culture Of Support And Encouragement

Last but certainly not least, you need to create a culture of support and encouragement at your gym. That means offering emotional support to members who are struggling with chronic health conditions and those who are just trying to get back into fitness.

Don’t hesitate to encourage members who are trying their best (even if it’s not in a fitness center setting). Doing so helps members feel supported and can encourage them to keep coming back.

These tips will help you engage older members and make them feel more welcome at the gym. Engaging your older members is essential in keeping your fitness center relevant, active, and busy.

Show Appreciation

Finally, don't forget to show your appreciation for your older members! They are an essential part of your gym's community, and they deserve to feel valued. Thank them for their loyalty and let them know that you are always happy to see them.

Final Words

Engaging your older members is essential to the success of your gym. By following these tips, you can ensure that your older members are happy, healthy, and coming back for more. 

Tracy Morrell

Written by Tracy Morrell

Director at React Fitness Limited with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry.