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A Life Course Opportunity


Create a new profit centre by focusing on your 50-plus members BY COLIN MILNER


alone. To benefit from the four genera- tions that now comprise the 50-plus market requires us to become students of life course transformations.


A


Step back to move forward The year is 1900, a time when our


life course was predictable and lim- ited. Our first decade was dedicated to learning, and then most people moved into the workforce. Because aver- age life expectancy was just 50 years, very few people lived to experience retirement. Fast forward to 2016, and we find


our life course has become anything but predictable. We are living, learn- ing and working longer. We now start and end our working years much later in life. We live with chronic diseas- es that killed those living in 1900. We care for our children, parents and grandchildren. We now have ac- cess to things our parents never even dreamed about, such as technological advances (think wearables) that have been designed to help us age well. These and other changes in our life


course have created a wide array of opportunities for the fitness, wellness and health industries.


Embrace the opportunity Boomers have embraced the


38 Fitness Business Canada March/April 2016


re you profiting from trans- formations occurring within our life course? Confused? If so, you are certainly not


potential to live longer and healthier lives. This new reality is expected. Yet to achieve a long and healthy life re- quires good health. This need for good health is driving unprecedented surg- es in products and services touted to help us age well. And, given that one out of two adults are 50-plus and that they represent about 80 percent of the disposable income in the coun- try, this movement has nowhere to go but up. Still, the most effective solutions


available to help us age well are ex- ercise combined with proper nutri- tion, stress reduction, better sleep, not smoking and drinking less. How we position these and other services mov- ing forward will be a vital part of how our industry profits from an aging so- ciety and its new life course. Below is one example of how this


situation presents you with an oppor- tunity to work with older adults.


Lifelong learning One of the most significant life


course changes is the recognition that, if we wish or need to, we can work later into life. Yet remaining relevant in the workplace and feeling connected to so- ciety requires lifelong learning. The opportunity for the fitness in-


dustry is to develop and deliver ongo- ing education and learning experienc- es to 50-plus members and prospects. To kick off this effort, ask your old- er members and prospects what skills


they need to learn. What topics inter- est them? Then partner with an educa- tion provider or independent experts to deliver the education. Once you have your topics and part-


ners in place, decide if the sessions will be offered online or in-person. Online sessions eliminate the issue of provid- ing a space, while in-person opportu- nities result in better engagement for certain topics. Whichever option you choose, be sure to videotape or record all sessions and to compile them into an online library that is password pro- tected. Use these recordings as a mem- ber benefit or as a new profit centre to drive new member and non-member revenue. Lastly, work with a marketer to de-


velop a branded name for your new- found learning centre. This is crucial for your sales and marketing efforts and will differentiate you from your competitors. This is just one example of how to


profit from the life course change. Now it’s your turn to sit down and explore how life course changes can help you develop new profit centres for your business. FBC


Colin Milner is the founder and chief executive officer of the International Council on Active Aging® and a 31-year-veteran of the fitness industry. He has been a delegate at the World Economic Forum, which has recognized him as “one of the most innovative and influential minds" in the world on aging-related topics.


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