Baby Boomer Women Show Increasing Interest in Weight Training as a Means to Retaining Youth

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TheFitWoman.com encourages women to take part in weight training, helping to make age-related frailty a thing of the past. Baby boomer women are turning out to be among the most interested.

Who are the women of the baby boomer generation? They are defined in a number of ways, primarily as women born between 1946 and 1959, who experienced the cultural revolution of the 1960's, and are, or soon to become, fifty-something. If there is power in numbers, watch out, because they make up probably the largest cohort of women in recorded history, numbering over 40 million in the United States alone. How are they different from their mothers and grandmothers? Well, for starters, women baby boomers will probably not tolerate being called, "elderly."

Last year, TheFitWoman.com launched its site, providing information and fitness equipment, with a particular focus on weight training for women. Its owners, Janet Ford and Linda Kravitz, are Certified Personal Trainers, who have since heard thousands of requests for products and services. "Women in their 40's and 50's are the one's who seem to be stepping up," said Ford. "They want us to help them get started on a weight training program, because they heard it will help them look younger."

Marketing data shows that women still mainly rely on aerobics to be fit. Aerobics, however, does not have the youth enhancing and body transforming effects of weight training. It is no wonder baby boomers are showing strong interest. The most visible of age-related problems, such as osteoporosis, muscle loss, joint disease, decreased coordination and hunched-over posture, are all directly countered by weight training.

Some may remember the Tufts University research that found unexpected results from a study performed with women in their 50s and 60s. After one year of a simple weight training program, the subjects developed lean muscle mass, strength, balance, coordination and cardio-vascular fitness comparable to women in their 30s and early 40s. Prior to this research, frailty was thought to be an inevitable part of getting old. Comparable results were not found with aerobic training or walking.

A number of marketing studies show that baby boomer women have no intention of adopting the "granny" role or "slowing down" in their senior years -- they intend to remain active, involved and vibrant throughout their entire lifespan. If a weight training program will assist them to accomplish this, then so be it. An obstacle, however, is the activity's solitary nature.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, remembering his younger days, delighted in shifting from team-driven soccer to bodybuilding, where he alone could shine under the spotlight. Women, however, have tended towards group classes, ever since Jane Fonda made one of the first popular aerobic tapes. A recent University of California study by Carol Osborn shows that baby boomer women seek "communal experiences" with each other. For this reason, circuit training facilities, known for their cordial atmosphere and social settings, have been very popular with women. The hydraulic machines used in these centers, however, have been subject to criticism for providing insufficient muscle and nervous system stimulation to provide the benefits associated with a more rigorous free weight program.

Women baby boomers, known for their insistence on high standards and excellence, will most likely move away from the circuit machines towards more traditional and effective means of weight training currently found in the gritty male-dominated gyms. Meanwhile, TheFitWoman.com is doing its part by providing a place in cyberspace where women may congregate about weight training.

The site provides many articles on women's weight training, special equipment such as PlateMate® micro-loading magnets, maternity fitness apparel, women's weight lifting gloves, and other items geared to women fitness enthusiasts. The Fit Woman Blog also provides a forum for discussion and debate among those who are interested in women's fitness. The site does not guide women away from aerobics, and in fact offers a line of cardio exercise equipment as well. Says Ford, "We just like to emphasize the weight training because women still need encouragement in this area."

About TheFitWoman.com:

TheFitWoman.com Web site was established to promote and provide fitness equipment and information that assist women to achieve their fitness goals. The company was founded by Certified Personal Trainers, Linda Kravitz and Janet Ford, who work with various other fitness professionals, most notably, Gordon Waddell, CSCS, on product selection and information.

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