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Wendy Reuer, Published September 07 2013

New Fargo fitness club caters to baby boomers

FARGO – Baby boomers may be heading into retirement, but that that doesn’t mean they are slowing down.

Instead, they are looking to accelerate their health and fitness regime. And while the housing industry has long offered specialized housing developments for retirees, now the fitness industry is targeting those older than 50.

One of those businesses is Welcyon Fitness After 50, a new south Fargo health club.

Welcyon, 2603 Kirsten Lane S., uses low-impact equipment and partners personal trainers and dietitians with each client, said owner Heather Teigen.

As a health club exclusive to those 50 or older, Welcyon offers a non-intimidating environment, said Bill Rodriquez, a corporate Welcyon spokesman.

“You go to some workout clubs, you almost feel like you have to be in shape to get in shape, and we have to have an alternative to that,” he said.

While one in every 50 people across the nation are over the age of 50, fitness experts say baby boomers also make up the largest group seeking fitness programs and personal trainers.

“But no one in the health club industry was catering specifically to those over 50,” Rodriguez said.

Teigen said while physical fitness has always been a priority in her family – she is the daughter of longtime Concordia head football coach Jim Christopherson – she and her husband, Troy, wanted to give older adults like her now-retired father and mother a place to continue the fitness they had always made a priority. Christopherson said Thursday at Welcyon’s grand opening that fitness shouldn’t drop off after a certain age.

“I see the value of working out after 50,” he said.

Connie Dulany, 57, of Fargo, was a member of other gyms but was excited to check out Welcyon, which would cater to her age group and personal needs.

“I see now there is merit in doing this,” she said. “This just seems to fit what I was looking for.”

Janis Cheney, state director for AARP North Dakota, said Welcyon fits what many in the 50-plus demographic are looking for.

“Anything that promotes fitness and physical health is going to be good for a community,” she said.

Cheney said she is not aware of any other industries or businesses planning to specialize in the baby boomer generation like the fitness and housing industries have.

She said AARP and the Small Business Administration have a partnership that helps older entrepreneurs expand or create businesses that can serve baby boomers.

Cheney said it is not surprising that boomers are seeking innovative paths after retirement.

“When you look back at the history of this generation and the massive social changes they were in the midst of in the ’60s and ’70s, it isn’t unusual to think they will be a part of social change all their lives,” she said.

Dulany said she likely wouldn’t be interested in other businesses that cater just to older adults.

“I see that it’s important to still be affiliated or involved in different age groups,” she said. “I’m still enjoying the younger people, but I don’t want to keep up with them in the gym.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530