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New Survey Shows Seniors are Healthier and More Physically Active than Most People Think

Vanity may Still be a Major Motivator for those Past Age 50


Monday, July 16, 2007 9:48 am EDT



Public Company Information:


LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new survey of the fitness and exercise habits of people over the age of 50 reveals that seniors are more physically active than most people think. Given common assumptions about baby boomers and seniors, the results were somewhat surprising in that this group is generally healthy and physically active. Of those polled, 97 percent say they are in good, very good or excellent health and 45 percent consider themselves above average in physical fitness. Respondents believe that exercising is beneficial in improving and maintaining their health and fitness levels, with 42 percent noting that they look or feel better as a result of physical activity.

However, vanity as much as wellness may be a driving force. And the search for six-pack abs does not end after ones fiftieth birthday. At least 63 percent of seniors are more concerned with their abs than any other part of their body. Only 10 percent are concerned with their hips or bottom, and only 5 percent are worried about their legs. The survey sampled the opinions of more than 4,500 respondents to determine their fitness habits and attitudes toward exercising and their bodies. It was commissioned by health benefits company Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and the SilverSneakers® Fitness Program, a product of Healthways, and was conducted on eons.com, the Web site of Eons, Inc., a 50-plus media company.

The survey also revealed that 74 percent of seniors exercise at least three days a week and 33 percent exercise at least five days a week. Nearly half (46 percent) have been exercising for more than five years, demonstrating a long-term commitment to physical activity.

Weve been working with the 50-plus age population for a long time, whether through our commercial and Medicare business or through our relationship with SilverSneakers and Eons, said Dr. Robert Pope, medical director for Humanas senior segment. Weve consistently promoted the benefits of physical activity and healthier lifestyles, but its encouraging to see that seniors are taking it all so seriously. Its difficult to get motivated at any age, and I think we can all learn a lesson from the exercise habits of these seniors.

Of those surveyed, half prefer to walk or power walk to get their exercise, and, if given free time to do any physical activity, 39 percent say theyd take a long walk. Nearly half (47 percent) like to exercise outdoors, while 40 percent prefer working out at home and 43 percent like to exercise alone.

Through our work with the 50-plus population, we know that boomers really understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, said Jeff Taylor, founder and CEO of Eons. This survey showed us that health consciousness among people in this age group is much more widespread than many think. Getting excited about exercise becomes more difficult with age, so were happy to see such a large portion of people 50 plus are staying active to stay healthy.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 17 percent say theyve lost weight since becoming more active; 34% say their body just feels better
  • 53 percent say that a lack of interest, motivation or time prevents them from being more active
  • 61 percent say they started exercising because they wanted to look or feel good
    • Only about 15 percent said it was because of a doctors warning (5 percent) or an immediate health concern (9 percent)
    • Less than 1 percent said it was because they were re-entering the dating scene
  • 67 percent exercise today to improve their health or maintain their fitness/health level
  • 44 percent say their personal belief is what keeps them going
    • Only 7 percent say it was their children (<3 percent), doctor (<3 percent) or a friend (2 percent) that motivated them
  • 22 percent say theyd take an adventure vacation, go kayaking or canoeing if given free time to do something physically active

Eons conducted the online survey in the U.S. on behalf of Humana and SilverSneakers among Eons members over the age of 50. The survey was conducted from April 18 May 9, 2007. To help inactive seniors jump-start their fitness, Humana developed a fitness book with low-impact exercises and tips on getting and staying healthy. The book, developed as part of Humanas sponsorship of the Senior Olympics, held in Louisville, KY, can be downloaded from http://www.humana-medicare.com/fitness, or can be ordered by calling (800) 710-1601.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nations largest publicly traded health benefits companies, with approximately 11.3 million medical members. Humana offers a diversified portfolio of health insurance products and related services through traditional and consumer-choice plans to employer groups, government-sponsored plans, and individuals.

Over its 46-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

About The SilverSneakers® Fitness Program

The SilverSneakers® Fitness Program is offered by Healthways, an industry leader providing specialized, comprehensive Health and Care SupportSM solutions to help people maintain or improve their health. Founded in 1992, SilverSneakers is the nations leading exercise program designed exclusively for older adults and offers an innovative blend of physical activity, healthy lifestyle and socially-oriented programming that allows older adults to take greater control of their health. The unique program is available at no additional cost to eligible Medicare members and is currently offered in 49 states at nearly 2600 fitness centers, YMCAs, JCCs and class sites. For more information on SilverSneakers, call 480.783.9555 or visit www.silversneakers.com.

About Eons

Eons, Inc. inspires and connects adults who are lovin life on the flipside of 50 with tools and resources to help make the most of today, tackle dreams and adventures, and celebrate memories and accomplishments. Founded by Jeff Taylor, creator of Monster.com, Eons has attracted a team of renowned advisors and industry-leading partners and is backed by venture capital financing from General Catalyst Partners, Sequoia Capital, Charles River Ventures and Intel Capital, as well as Humana, Inc. It is supported by corporate founding partners Harrahs Entertainment; Hyatt Corp.; Humana, Inc.; Liberty Mutual Group; Fidelity and Verizon Wireless. Eons is headquartered in Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston. For more information about Eons, visit www.eons.com and www.cranky.com.


Humana Corporate Communications
Dick Brown, 502-580-3863