Study: Baby boom generation views working out as a chore

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By: New York

Researchers at Concordia University conducted a study on the baby boom generation’s outlook on fitness and found they view working out as a chore and that, ironically, passion tops their list of motivations for exercise.

They continue to work out grudgingly, according to the study, because looking good and staying in healthy are important, but miss the passion that drove them in the sports of their youth.

Applied Human Sciences professor James Galvin says he hopes the fitness industry will embrace the need for passion and the impending exercise boredom that is beleaguering its largest consumer age group.

Galvin zeroed in on boomers not only because they represent the biggest generation, but because they came of age when exercise came into fashion.

In the study, he surveyed 1,885 participants at various YMCA facilities across Montreal, separating respondents according to decade.

Participants ranged in age from teenagers to 50 and over.

The top motivator across all age groups was to be toned and fit, followed by stress reduction.

Galvin was surprised to see that the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies training, which he categorized as “mental toughness,” declined as a motivational factor among boomers.

Social motivations didn’t bode well with boomers, either, indicating that merely running into friends at the gym isn’t quite the same as interacting with teammates.

“Exercise is often perceived as a necessary evil,” says Gavin, remarking on the atmosphere in gyms including his own. “When I go to a gym and look around, I don’t see a lot of excitement or laughter — people are putting in their time almost as prisoners on their solitary workout stations. They’re working away, and relieved when it’s over.”

Gavin predicts this already aged population is positioned for burn-out, and that the fitness industry needs to prepare by finding ways to reinvigorate its biggest consumers.

This, says Gavin, will likely involve moving away from machine-dominated methods and protocols oriented to the individual and towards meaningful activities involving social interactions.

While team sports and martial arts would appear to be reasonable solutions, boomers are starting to consider themselves too old for such undertakings.

“The marketing needs to be about passion, around finding deep personal meaning in physical activity,” says Gavin. “If you watch people playing tennis or slaloming down a hill, they’re not counting calories.”

It’s up to the industry to reinvent sports in a way that engages passion and delivers good health as an added benefit.

The study was published in the International Journal of Well Being. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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