The Face of Fitness Is Growing Older

When fitness came calling, Margaret Wheeler was up to the challenge.

"We didn't have any instructor and it was either TV or me," she said.

She's not the typical health professional, but as the face of fitness grows older, she soon could be.

"We have a very high population of people who are over 55 especially in the morning hours," Unity Fitness Personal Trainer Paula Ramminger said.

Ramminger says she's seen an influx of older clients and across the country it's a similar situation. Experts on aging say 37 percent of health club members are now 55 and over.

"I come on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which is when the Get Fit class is," participant Anne Mooney said.

Wheeler teaches that class, part of a new and growing fitness movement, stressing the importance of exercise at an older age.

"As people get older the blood pressure and heart rate tend to creep up, but with regular physical activity we can kind of keep those under control," Ramminger said.

That's why most builders will now include a fitness center in designs for an adult community and health clubs offer classes that cater to seniors, using light weights and gentle exercises to achieve results.

"It's not only for the exercise, but it's for socializing and it's something to look forward to," Wheeler said.

And while participant Anne Mooney knows exercise won't stop the clock, she says it will help slow it down.

"We try to keep our bodies young or a little mobile, I'm not sure it affects the brain or the mind that much, but that's our goal that's what we try to do here," she said.

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