For fitness chain, business is boomers
Kathy Leon works out at Boomer Fitness in San Carlos,Friday,December 8,2006. Boomer Fitness is geared toward the boomer generation.
(John Green - STAFF)
KATHY LEON of Burlingame, 44, slides onto the seat of the rotary machine and grabs the two waist-level handles. In one fluid motion, she twists to the right, then the left - an exercise that will boost her golf game and help keep her in shape.
It's all in a day's work at San Carlos-based Boomer Fitness, http://www.boomerfitnessclubs.com.
"We've created circuits, or groups, of weight-lifting machines that tone muscles for specific sports, such as golf and tennis, to help (baby) boomers continue to be able to play these sports as they age," said Arleen Cauchi, the club's owner and founder. Boomer Fitness opened Dec. 2, and Cauchi plans to eventually open more clubs in the East Bay and throughout the area.
Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) make up about one-fourth of the U.S. population, and they are graying, contributing to the aging of America.
As an example, the median age in the Bay Area will jump from 36.5 to 42.5 by 2035, according to the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Like many, Cauchi hopes to cash in on the needs of this population.
Membership at Boomer Fitness is $79 a month for three months, $69 a month for six months and $59 a month if you sign up for a year. A one-time visit is $20.
Circuit training is nothing new. Fitness clubs like well-known, Texas-based Curves helped popularize the concept some time ago. But Cauchi's airy,
light-filled second-story facility is unique because it focuses on specific sports as well as general training, with 15-, 30- and 45-minute routines incorporating strength, core (abdominal and other trunk muscles) and flexibility.
As "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John, a perennial boomer favorite, bounces from the loudspeakers, Leon moves from the strength training area to the flexibility area. One of the infamous cylindrical rollers often used in physical therapy is affixed vertically to the wall.
"People don't like to lie down on the floor," said Cauchi, a personal trainer who learned golf as a child from golf great Jug McSpaden. "This makes it easy for them to do pectoral stretches while still standing up."
Cauchi, who is studying for her National Academy of Sports Medicine certification, said, "Golf is about rotation. As you age, you lose flexibility and can't rotate as much or hit the ball as far." To address this, her routines include stretching and range-of-motion exercises.
"You need strengthening and range of motion in the upper extremities, core strengthening and strong legs to play golf," said Marilyn Moffat, former president of the American Physical Therapy Association, seemingly concurring with the Boomer Fitness program.
"Most older baby boomers should not get into an exercise program without seeing a physical therapist. A physical therapist can assess anything that's wrong and guide them as to what they should or shouldn't do. Then they can go to their fitness clubs after that," Moffat said, adding that training for a sport is a good idea.
"You condition yourself for the sport; you don't use the sport to condition yourself," Moffat said. "Even young people should train for sports."
Cauchi said, "I ask my members for a doctor's clearance and work with any limitations the doctor might dictate."
In addition to golf, Cauchi's program offers training to boomers for tennis, hiking and other sports, or just general conditioning. One component of the tennis program is a variation of the children's game four square. To help develop footwork, a key element of the game, members hop from one square to another.
Bob Barone of San Carlos, 53, an independent insurance and investment broker, heard about Boomer Fitness from his golf pro, Professional Golfers' Association of America teaching professional David Balbi of San Carlos, who recommended the facility.
"I was hoping to improve my flexibility and strengthen the muscles I use to play golf," Barone said. "But mostly flexibility, lower back, legs and hips. You need to be fluid when you play golf.
"I really enjoy the place. Arleen is professional, easy to work with. She knows her stuff. It's a pleasant experience."
Contact Janis Mara at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 208-6468.