The Baby Boomer population – yes, the one that is over 75 million strong – comes from families that were greatly influenced by the Great Depression and World War II. At that time, the primary focus was providing for the family. Baby Boomer trends, however, are slightly shifting towards something different. Actually, something very different. This generation is gravitating more towards peak fitness levels. And not just fitness for health alone, at least not in the traditional sense. I’m talking about fitness for big-time, let-it-all-hang-out competition.
Now more than ever, Baby Boomers are competing in 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, marathons and triathlons. In marathons, Baby Boomers are making up large percentages of the race participants. For instance, in this year’s prestigious Boston Marathon in which participants must post a qualifying time in order to run, about one fourth will be Baby Boomers.
Whereas there is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, why are Baby Boomers so competitive? For some, it is a matter of pushing themselves to stay in shape. For others, it is a sense of feeling great and an experience full of pride that they may never have had before in their lives. For others yet, it is to keep something positive in their lives and to inspire others. Obviously, though, these Baby Boomers did not get in shape overnight. Many may have been active their entire lives, and others may have picked up running only a few years ago.
Whatever their reason, these senior athletes have a lot to say – in words and mostly by their actions – to a much younger generation that has come to lead a rather sedentary lifestyle. Whether you have similar lifestyles to these active Baby Boomers or are just beginning a fitness program, you are saying a lot through your actions. You’re saying that you are so confident in your senior health that you could give anyone a run for their money, regardless of their age!
If you are new to fitness, consider taking on the challenge of competing in a race this year. Start small with a 5K, with many of these races offering both running and walking options. Walk it. Run it. Do half and half, but most importantly: Move! With a little friendly competition, you can see the true worth of your exercise. Your hard work will reward you and if you push yourself, you may even have a medal draping from your neck at the finish line.