YOU don't have to be under 40 to be fit. In fact, baby boomers are the nation's most active generation - more than pulling their weight in the exercise stakes.
Australians aged between 55 and 75 rack up 83 more hours or exercise a year compared to those under 40, according to the country's peak fitness industry body.
New research commissioned by Fitness Australia found baby boomers clock up 364 hours of physical activity a year (that's seven hours a week) while those under 40 averaged around 281 hours of activity each year (about 6 hours a week).
The survey also found younger generations could also learn from their older counterparts when it comes to overcoming internal barriers to being active, with those under 40 more than twice as likely as baby boomers to avoid physical activity because they feel they don't fit in or are too embarrassed.
Fitness Australia chief executive, Barrie Elvish, said while the majority of baby boomers are getting physically active to improve their health, confidence is also a huge driver.
"Our research found that for half of older Australians a key benefit of being active is proving to themselves that they can still do it.
"As a baby boomer myself, it is extremely gratifying to see this generation embracing physical activity, challenging themselves and enjoying the physical, mental and social benefits."
"Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, whether it's pulling on your runners and stepping out your front door to go for a walk or joining a group fitness class with a friend. But when you overcome that first step, you build up confidence and start enjoying yourself," said Mr Elvish.
Feeling physically and mentally stronger, and maintaining their independence is also important for baby boomers, while one in five exercise to socialise and connect with others.
Mr Elvish said the desire among baby boomers to be healthy, confident and strong has led to an increased demand for experts who understand baby boomers' needs as well as tailored programs.
"We now have almost 10,000 Fitness Australia registered trainers qualified to specifically work with baby boomers and service the increasing number heading to gyms and fitness centres."
He said older Australians are also enjoying other activities, including walking, gardening, swimming and playing team sports.
"The most important thing for all Australians, no matter what their age, is to find activities that they love to do," he said.
Fitness Australian spokesperson, Chantal Brodrick, and registered personal trainer, shares her top tips to get moving.
- Uncover what motivates you. Think about what you love doing. Is it being outdoors? Consider activities like bushwalking or outdoor bootcamps. Are you a social butterfly? Make your usual coffee at the local café a takeaway and go for a walk with a friend. If you find it hard to get motivated, try a Fitness Australia registered trainer who is up to date with the latest industry standards and training techniques. They can develop a tailored program for you and keep you accountable to help reach your goals.
- Find activities you love. Once you know what motivates you, whether it is walking in nature, connecting with others, health or even feeding that healthy competitive streak, it's time to take the plunge and find the right activity for you. If you are not sure where to start, head to the Fitness Australia website to explore a range of activities from Park Run, walking groups, gyms, wellness studios, trainers, or even an Active Farmers event.
- Buddy up. You are less likely to bail if someone is waiting for you, so grab a friend, family member or even a work pal and get moving together. There are also plenty of places to find new potential fitness buddies, like Meetup, or your local gym, sports club or community centre.
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Look at ways to mix activity into your existing routine. Forty-three per cent of baby boomers regularly garden for fitness, so make the most of it and use a watering can as a weight to increase your muscle strength or start digging that new flower bed. Taking the stairs rather than the elevator, bike riding to work, or taking the dog for a longer walk are also easy ways to boost your physical activity.
- Baby Boomers are physical active, on average, for 7 hours each week
- 43 per cent of baby boomers regularly garden for fitness.
- Those aged 39 and under are physically active, on average, for 5.4 hours each week, vs Gen X (5.9) and Baby Boomers (7.0)
- 53% Gen Z, 49% Millennials, 27% Gen X and 23% Baby Boomers avoid physical activity because they feel like they don't fit in; 15% Gen Z, 17% Millennials, 8% Gen X and 7% Baby Boomers are too embarrassed to participate in physical activity.
- 86% of Baby Boomers say health is a key benefit of being active including preventing chronic health conditions and alleviating symptoms
- Baby Boomers say key benefits of being active are feeling physically stronger (61%), mentally stronger (41%) and more independence (34%)
To find the right activity, trainer or gym for you visit fitnessaustralia.com.au