By Susan Williams
I just hate the term anti-aging. To me it is such a derogatory reference. The definition alone means being “opposed or against”. So when it comes to aging, I don’t understand how anyone can be opposed to it. If you’re not aging – you only need to consider what the alternative is.
But the business world has embraced this term. Not only have they embraced it, they actually have labelled it as a specific industry.
In 2020, the anti-aging industry was worth an estimated $25.9B and has a revenue forecast anticipated to grow to $35.4B by 2026. That is certainly lots of facials, fillers and cosmetic surgery all in the name of fighting aging. And according to an article published in CNN Business, the skincare market is also massive;
“The global skincare market was valued at nearly $135 billion in 2018, increasing nearly 60% in the past 10 years. And Trefis projects it to reach $180 billion — an increase of over 30% — in the next five years.”
Now I have nothing against these products or anyone using them but what I would like to do is propose something else that is more aging friendly.
Why don’t we start a pro-aging industry with products and services focused on supporting the positive aspects of aging?
Here just a few ideas of some things I thought of;
Diet and Nutrition
Pro-Aging Spice Packs
Did you know that there numerous spices that can help support healthy aging that are filled with healing properties? As an example, here are just five spices that Johns Hopkins University shared that helps with wellness and aging;
Cinnamon can lower your blood sugar
Turmeric can fight inflammation
Ginger can relieve nausea
Garlic can boost your heart health
Cayenne can ease pain
And the list goes on. The challenge is that these spices are just sitting on our grocery store shelves. You could walk right past them and have no idea how they could help support aging and longevity. So what if these spices were packaged and promoted as to how they may help us age and heal?
We could develop longevity spice kits. They could be pre-packaged spices that share how they can be used and how they may help us age. Package them up with delicious, healthy recipes and voila – tasty meals that will help us age well.
Food kit delivery services focused on pro-aging
There has been a steady increase in home cooking kits delivery service. The industry itself is projected to be worth over $1.5B. These services have found a nice niche between complete home cooking and cooked take out.
Many of the companies offer specific menus that can be chosen. For example, organic or vegetarian, paleo or diabetic. But what if they offered a specific menu focused on pro-aging?
It could be developed based on some of the foods from the Blue Zones diet. This diet is based off the research of some of the longest living populations in the world. Vegetables, legumes, nuts and olive oil are just some of the foods that are highlighted.
At this point in our lives we would have to have been living under a rock not to know how much exercise can positively affect our health – and ultimately your longevity. As reported by the AARP;
“The latest evidence is showing that exercise not only strengthens your heart and may trim your waist, but regular physical activity can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level and potentially add years to your life.”
But still, so many people just don’t do it. The US Department of Health and Human Services reported;
Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active
Part of the challenge is finding something you enjoy so that you will want to keep doing it. So here are a couple of pro-aging suggestions to help motivate people to move;
Many older people would like to spend the day cycling but possibly don’t have the stamina or could occasionally use a little help. Here is where an electric bike could come in. A survey conducted in 2019 found that baby boomers, make up the largest cohort of electric bike owners or interested consumers. These bikes could help us to keep us active longer and potentially enjoy some great scenery along the way.
Have you heard of pickleball yet? It’s one of the fastest growing sports and has experienced a 650 percent increase in participation over the last six years. The sport is a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis all rolled into one. It’s played on a badminton size court and is easy to learn and much easier on your body then other racquet sports. It originally started with an older audience but has since expanded to include people of all ages.
What I love about this sport is that it is something that could be played by any age so it is definitely pro-aging with lots of opportunity here for businesses in equipment, leagues, court development and more.
Walking is such a great exercise for aging. And doing it in a social environment has some great benefits. A research study on the benefits of a walking group discovered; “a walking group is shown to confer improvements in blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and mood”.
So where are the organizers of these type of clubs? There are lots of ad hoc groups and many apps but there is probably a great opportunity to offer them as a formal fitness option to an older audience coupled with a social media app.
Which leads me to my next area of opportunity….
The one thing that baby boomers have more of then other generations is money. In fact we control approximately 70% of all disposable income. And we’re active. The days of sitting around in rocking chairs waiting for our final day to come has disappeared.
So why isn’t there active wear being developed, geared and directed towards us?
Personally, I live in yoga pants but it would be great if some of this fitness gear was built for an older physique. For instance, the beauty of lycra is that it provides some stretch and pull. But does it always have to be so skin tight all over? What if it had just a bit of pull in certain areas and more relaxed in others?
And another pet peeve of mine – just look at any major active wear brand’s website and you would think that the world was only made up of twenty somethings who are in phenomenal physical shape.
So here’s a message to all activewear marketers – it’s okay to show older models. In fact, it would likely increase your business.
These are just a few ideas. There are so many other opportunities for us to push down the “anti” part of aging and embrace the “pro” side. As Betty Friedan is quoted as saying,
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”