There has been quite a turnaround in the fitness industry lately, and the trend has hit gyms and fitness centers in Johnson County.
More and more men and women ages 50 and older appear to be motivated to work out and do things they never thought possible.
Personal trainer Jamie Keen at Laser Sharp Fitness in Leawood said the number of clients age 50 or beyond has been through the roof. Keen said those clients generally are the most dedicated and may also wind up doing things like bodybuilding or running a marathon at age 60.
“We’ve seen a huge turnaround in people’s thinking about what they can do,” Keen said. “It seems like lately, the attitude has gone from, ‘I can’t do that because of my age,’ to ‘Why can’t I do that?’ ” Keen said. “More and more are realizing there is a lot of life left, and they want to be healthy to be able to do more and keep feeling young.”
Keen has seen social media change the thinking of many clients. Reading and seeing others’ positive fitness activities on Facebook, Twitter and beyond reinforces the positivity of working out no matter what the age. Keen said visualization can affect the thought process to finally taking steps to get fit.
Keen added that many individuals start thinking about their health in a different way in their late 40s. That was the case with Anne Swarts. At age 49, she decided she wanted to be the best 50-year-old possible and made a major lifestyle change. Now, she is 64 and has a toned body many in their 20s would envy.
Swarts said she eats clean and has developed a habit of working out that keeps her energized. If she doesn’t exercise, she said she doesn’t feel right.
“I feel so much better when I work out,” Swarts said. “I don’t feel you are ever too old to start. Our bodies are remarkable, and they love to be challenged.”
Swarts’ workouts consist of a combination of cardio and strength training.
“I try and do cardio five to seven times a week, which consists of a three- to five-mile walk, and I try to throw some running in, too,” Swarts said. “I love to do my weights. I do those five days a week. You can just see your body change before your eyes when you do strength training.”
Dick Wooten is also an expert on working out and running consistently after age 50.
At 73, Wooten recently placed 21st out 68 men in the 19-74 age group at the Olathe Medical Center Run. He ran a marathon at age 60 and still runs many miles during a week’s time.
“I don’t really compete quite like I used to but am still competitive. I can’t imagine not running as long as my health allows me to,” Wooten said.
Wooten said there are many people older than him who are still running and enjoying good health.
“There is no reason we can’t be in shape after any age if it’s medically possible,” Wooten said. “I see many people do things later in life they didn’t before, and they realize it’s energizing and it keeps you young.”