Toronto: The machine-dominated fitness industry no longer ignites passion for physical activity among baby boomers (people born between 1945-65), says a study.

“Exercise is often perceived as a necessary evil. When I go to a gym and look around, I do not see a lot of excitement or laughter – people are putting in their time almost as prisoners on their solitary workout stations. They are working away, and relieved when it is over,” said  James Gavin, a professor at Concordia University in Canada.

Although gratified by the effects on their health, many who are dedicated to fitness do not experience much joy in pursuing active lifestyles, Gavin said.

Eventually this lack of deep motivation may cause boomers to stop making the effort, he added.

The results of the study pose a challenge for the fitness industry to move away from machine-dominated options toward personally meaningful and socially connected pursuits.

Gavin’s study surveyed 1,885 participants at YMCA facilities across Montreal and examined responses by age-group – breaking answers down by decade, from the teens to 50 and over.

Of four major motivation categories, “toned and fit” was the top motivator in all age groups, followed by “stress reduction”.

The two final categories, “mental toughness” (defined as embracing activity for its adventure and challenge) and “fun and friends” (social motivations), both declined with increasing age.

The study appeared in the International Journal of Wellbeing.

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