When possible it is be better to maintain healthy habits throughout the holiday season. As an employer, you can help your employees avoid holiday health pitfalls by encouraging workplace wellness throughout the holiday season. Below are some ideas that can help.
Sponsor a Fitness-Themed Charity
This is the perfect time to sponsor a charity run, bike ride or other creative charitable endeavor. You can organize teams of your employees and their families to participate, so not only will you be doing something good for a worthy charity, your employees will have a chance to get some physical activity in a way that's fun and rewarding. A holiday fun run in December may even provide an extra incentive for people to eat healthily and stay in shape during November.
If there isn't an appropriate charity event scheduled in your area during the winter season, there's nothing to stop you from organizing your own. Look for a local cause that could use support - many charities that provide meals, shelter, clothes and toys for underprivileged families often end up overwhelmed during the holiday season and can use extra support. For example in 2016, Active Wellness is sponsoring a fitness event to benefit ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).
Make Healthy Food Easy to Access
Workplaces are often inundated with candy and sweet treats during the holiday season. Loyal clients and vendors often bring baked goods or food baskets, as well as send candy, to express their appreciation for all your hard work throughout the year. Employees share rich dishes or leftover treats during holiday potlucks and office parties.
Healthy dishes can be festive too.
Make healthy food easy for your employees to access. If you have a cafeteria, this is a good time to review your menu and make sure that you're offering selections that will not only keep hunger pangs at bay, but will also provide your employees with needed nutrition. If your oranization does not have a cafeteria, you can still help your employees. Keep water bottles and healthy snacks like trail mix and fruit in the break room for any employee who wants an alternative to unhealthy choices. Organize an employee recipe swap with a health-conscious theme. Choose a caterer that offers healthy dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients for the office holiday party.
Promote Appropriate Use of Sick Time
The holiday season is sometimes known by another name - the cold and flu season. Encourage your employees to use their sick days when they need them, and watch out for policies that discourage employees - even unintentionally - from staying home when they're ill. Employees spread unwanted germs when they come to work under the weather, and can end up costing organizations higher productivity loses when compared to simply staying home.
Also, it is ill-advised to require workers to get docotr's notes for absences if they simply have a cold or the flu. This drives up healthcare costs and can prevent employees from staying home when they really need to, because it's often easier to just go to work sick than it is to get a doctor's appointment on short notice. Managers should set the tone by taking themselves home when they're ill - employees take their cues from leadership.
A healthy workplace is a productive workplace, and you can't let productivity slip during the holiday season. It's worth making an extra effort to ensure that your employees have a healthy workplace during this traditionally unhealthy time of year.
Smart Design and Development
Designing a fitness facility that caters to the needs of your visitors and also takes into account the amount of available space is an important part of fitness facility management. Whether you are designing a fitness center for an apartment complex or a corporate building, you will need to make use of the space in the most economical way. Invest in a reputable design and development team to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space that fits within your budget. This team may recommend certain types of flooring materials or commercial space to convert into a fitness facility that will require minimal maintenance and upgrades over the long-term. Smart design can help you save money on the initial investment and long-term maintenance costs.
Smart design is an important factor in successful fitness facility management.
Equipment Company Partnerships
You will need to partner with commercial gym equipment providers to furnish your fitness facility with state-of-the-art equipment and fitness tools. Get quotes from several providers and review pricing options to determine the best fit for your budget. Some companies will be able to provide recommendations based on the overall layout and available space of your facility, and information about some of the most popular brands and types of equipment on the market.
Scheduling routine maintenance and upgrade visits from fitness equipment manufacturers and other service providers are other essential components of fitness facility management. You will need to make sure all of your fitness equipment is in good working order and take care of upgrades and maintenance checks after hours. Make sure you have staff available to oversee maintenance visits and a system in place to monitor equipment for damage and repairs.
Take the time to hire experienced and dedicated staff members that are committed to helping your fitness center thrive. Employee incentives and well-organized employee training programs can help to keep all staff members engaged and dedicated to making sure all members are taken care of. If you are running a smaller, residential fitness facility, you will need to train maintenance workers and staff to ensure all equipment is operable and to maintain a high level of cleanliness throughout the facility.
Provide engaging fitness programs and services at your fitness center.
Engaging Fitness Programs and Services
Successful fitness centers are centered on the needs of the people who use the fitness center on a regular basis. Part of your fitness facility management plan needs to include a streamlined membership recruitment and retention plan, as well as specialized services that will make your fitness center one of the best places to work out in the area. This might include individual fitness consultations, personal trainer services, and group exercise programs that keep members engaged year round.
Successful facility management is dependent on several factors and key decisions. Use these tips to develop and manage an attractive, efficient, and profitable fitness facility for your property.
A clean fitness center is the key to a successful and healthy business.
One of the first things you notice when you walk into a fitness center is how clean it is. The facility can be large and extremely modern, with all the latest equipment and stylish interior design, but if it is unclean or unsanitary in any way, members will most definitely notice. According to the "Guide to Health Club Cleanliness", published by the IHRSA, fifty-six percent of fitness club members expect their workout environment to be free of germs. The report also indicated that a fitness center's performance and revenue are directly related to its cleanliness, and that clean fitness centers have higher member retention.
Fitness Center Microbiology
Keeping your fitness center clean is not simply about its visual appeal. There are a number of organisms that can become plentiful in the moist and humid environments throughout a fitness center, everything from influenza to athlete's foot. When it comes to keeping your fitness center clean, it is important to know your microorganism enemies.
The most common microorganism in a gym area is Staphylococcus aureus (abbr. S. aureus). S. aureus can be found literally anywhere and everywhere that can be touched or that comes in contact with sweat or any other body fluids.
Many organisms, including bacteria, can be found on the equipment and other surfaces in a fitness center.
Influenza is another common microorganism in gyms. Many members will still attempt to workout when they are in the early stages of the flu, spreading the virus around them when they cough or sneeze.
Fungus is also very common in gyms, especially a group of fungal infections called dermatophytes. These dermatophytes infect the epidermal tissue, hair and nails, with one of the most common infections known as athlete's foot. Dermatophyte infections can be contracted through direct person-to-person contact, or through coming in contact the bodily fluids of an infected person, such as their sweat on a workout mat.
Clean Fitness Center Design
Planning for a clean fitness center begins in the planning and design stage. Consulting with a fitness management company such as Active Wellness can be invaluable at this stage, helping you to incorporate elements into the design that will promote cleanliness and overall health. For example, a high-filtration vacuum system may be installed, which will remove not only dirt but also the dead germs that are present on floors and hard surfaces. Good drainage in the shower room areas is also important to deter breeding ground of certain bacteria and fungi.
Tips for Keeping Your Fitness Center Clean
The most important way to keep your fitness center clean is to educate your cleaning staff, and your entire staff, about the correct way to clean and maintain the equipment and the entire space. Ensure that they know about the "hot spots" where bacteria, viruses, and fungi can lurk, including door handles, stretching mats, stability balls and hand weights.
Though some bacteria, such as S. aureus, can be notoriously difficult to kill, you can up your chances of getting it by using a hospital-grade cleaner that contains at least 10 percent bleach. A full-spectrum cleaner may also be effective.
Finally, provide your members with the means to protect themselves. Dispensers with hand sanitizer, and separate cleansing cloths for the equipment and for people should be accessible throughout the fitness center. It is also important to promote proper hand washing techniques, for both staff and members.
A clean, healthy fitness environment welcomes members and encourages them to come back.
Maintaining a clean fitness center can seem like an insurmountable task. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi thrive in the high-traffic environment, but taking the time to clean the facility the right way, and giving members the tools they need to keep the facility clean on an individual basis, you can ensure that your fitness center stays clean and successful.
If you're noticing a decline in productivity in the workplace, high rates of absenteeism, and low employee morale, it may be time to rejuvenate your company by building an onsite fitness center. Employees who have access to a workplace fitness center can keep up with their healthy lifestyle without having to invest in a gym membership or compromise their busy schedules. Encouraging work-life balance and promoting a wellness philosophy could help you retain employees for the long-run because they feel like their employer cares about their health and well-being.
Here are six ways an onsite fitness center can rejuvenate a company:
A workplace fitness center promotes your company's wellness philosophy.
1. Promotes a Wellness Philosophy
A wellness-centered company may be more attractive to prospective employees and encourage current employees to stay with the company because their employer is invested in their health. Adding an onsite fitness center to your list of workplace amenities could help you attract and retain quality employees.
2. Improves Work-Life Balance
Building a fitness center at the workplace may encourage employees to enjoy some work-life balance. Some employees who work long hours or overtime regularly will appreciate the opportunity to break away for a lunchtime workout or get their workout in first thing in the morning before a busy day.
3. Boosts Productivity
The Harvard Business Review reports on the mental benefits of regular exercise, pointing to compelling evidence that suggests our workout regimen is directly linked to concentration, memory, learning ability, and creativity. Exercise can also boost the mood which has a direct effect on workplace performance.
4. Improves Employee Morale
Workers who feel like their employers care about them may be more cooperative, productive, and happier overall. Announcing that you are opening a private gym specifically for employee use could boost employee morale - it's a clear indication of the company investing in its employees.
Encourage employees to work out regularly to boost productivity.
5. Can Reduce Absenteeism
The American Institute for Preventive Medicine found that for every $1 invested in worksite wellness programs, companies experienced a return of $5.82 in reduced absenteeism. Companies with worksite wellness programs can effectively boost employee morale and improve employee health, and reduce the risk of absenteeism. Encouraging employees to workout regular at the workplace fitness center and adopt healthy lifestyle habits could contribute to reduced absenteeism.
6. Helps Employees Manage Stress Effectively
Stressed employees may be more likely to need time off work or they may compromise their ability to perform their jobs optimally. The American Psychological Association reports that exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope with stress effectively. Being sedentary - something that most of your employees do for a good portion of the workday - makes the body less efficient in responding to stress. Having access to a workplace fitness center could be a valuable asset to many stressed employees.
If you're ready to add a fitness center to your workplace environment to offer wellness benefits to your employees, talk to Active Wellness, a leader in fitness management. Active Wellness can assist with all aspects of the planning and design process, equipment purchases, and day-to-day management of your fitness center. Contact us today!
Components of Layout and Atmosphere
One of the most important things to include in a fitness center designed with seniors in mind is a calm and quiet atmosphere. By making sure that social areas and fitness areas are separated, this relaxing atmosphere can be acquired. Having a social area is just as important as a fitness area. Many seniors want a place, similar to an appealing cafe setting, where they can chat with friends and feel comfortable doing so. It needs to be an area free from swimsuit-clad members dripping with water.
At a Boomer-focused fitness center, iron weights and ellipticals don't make the list of suitable workout equipment. Equipment that offers air-powered resistance training and cardio machines that are low impact are the most popular and successful options. Having an indoor or outdoor track also encourages cardio exercise. Seniors are less likely to injure themselves when using these alternatives.
Modified Group Fitness Classes
Incorporating a wide variety of group classes in a senior fitness center can optimize their experience. Offer classes that have a low impact on the joints, like yoga. Yoga also helps to increase flexibility, which can help to prevent injuries and improve balance. One popular class that is trending among seniors with disabilities is seated volleyball. When constructing the senior fitness center, consider a pool for aquatics, which will also benefit those who suffer from illnesses such as arthritis. It will enable them to be fit without the strain of participating in activities that inflame their joints.
Low impact strength training such as yoga improves balancing and lessens the chances of falling-related accidents.
Another important factor that cannot be overlooked in constructing a fitness center tailored for seniors is hiring a knowledgeable staff that specializes in fitness for older adults. They must be able and willing to take the time necessary to familiarize each person with the equipment and make them feel as comfortable as possible. They must also be ready to recognize any physical limitations and disabilities that could potentially harm the members, and have a thorough knowledge of the member's medical history, including any medications or past surgeries that could hinder their physical activity and cause injury.
A knowledgeable staff will give members the best experience.
A unique fitness center design must be applied when building a gym that attracts the older generations. By incorporating a calm atmosphere with a good layout, using the appropriate equipment and offering the right classes, and hiring a qualified staff, such a fitness center is easily attainable.
Preparing for unexpected issues when designing and constructing a new building can be daunting. Fitness facility design is no exception to this, but taking the time during the planning phase to anticipate possible problems with the site, as well as changes in usage and demographics, will allow you to create a space that adapts well to change. These issues can be difficult to plan for, but enlisting the help of a fitness management company like Active Wellness can make anticipating the issues, and handling them when they arise, less stressful and more successful.
Unexpected issues can arise when designing and constructing a residential community fitness center.
Standards and Guidelines are the Solution
When issues with facility design arise, it is always best to turn to the written standards for fitness facility design and using those as a guide to handle the unexpected. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has outlined standards for fitness facility design and construction. Based on the standards, fitness centers are divided into two major types: fitness-only and multipurpose. For residential and community planners and developers, fitness-only facilities is the relevant category, as this includes apartment fitness areas and corporate fitness centers.
On average, fitness-only facilities cover around 42,000 square feet, and include essential elements that ensure safety for all using the facility, including special signage for the visually-impaired. Wheelchair accessibility through doors, entryways and exits, as well as ramps, must be factored in, as well as ease-of-use for light switches, water fountains, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment.
Unexpected Issues: Flexibility
Equipment technology is constantly changing, so designing your fitness center to accommodate new forms of equipment is crucial. When you are planning out the space, Active Wellness can assist you in the design by recommending structural changes that can make it easier to rearrange the equipment, or change it out completely, without altering the flow and safety standards for the space.
Equipment technology can result in unexpected changes in design and wiring.
High-tech equipment has also created a need for more data accessible spaces. Many new pieces of exercise equipment include the ability to track fitness progress and share that progress to social networks and the like via data connections. Allowing for this by providing a raised flooring system with plenty of data connection ports will ensure that, whatever type of equipment is in the room will have access to this service.
Sports classes and group activities change frequently as well, moving in and out of style as the demographics of the residential community change. Active Wellness can help you evaluate your space's acoustical needs, and also the costs, of using movable partitions in a large size room rather than designing smaller rooms with fixed walls. This added flexibility in the workout rooms allows you to change the size of the room as the popularity of classes and wax and wane. You will also be able to accommodate much larger groups at a time, always within the parameters of safety.
Flexible workout space will accommodate the changes in group exercise and class trends.
Unexpected developments can occur with any large-scale building project, and fitness facility design is no exception. Teaming up with fitness management experts such as Active Wellness, and planning for these unexpected issues in safety and flexibility will ensure your fitness facility design project is completed successfully.
Active Wellness is a fitness management company that works with residential and community planners and developers through all stages of fitness center design, planning, equipment purchasing and turn-key operation and management. For more information on what Active Wellness can do for yo ucontact us.
Updated on Dec. 6, 2016
Corporate wellness programs save money and contribute to employee satisfaction.
Employee health initiatives in the workplace aren't exactly a new concept. Even members of Congress have access to a gym while they're on the job. However, with rising healthcare and health insurance costs becoming ever more of a concern, many smart and innovative companies are taking corporate wellness to a whole new level in an attempt to foster a healthy workforce - and save money by reducing healthcare and lost productivity costs in the process. Take a look at what the changing face of corporate wellness means when planning an employee fitness program.
Understanding Your Community
Before you even begin putting together your fitness center, you have to have a clear understanding of who your target users will be and what they will be looking for in a facility. If you residential community is geared more toward young adults, the so-called "Millennial" generation, then creating a flexible space that allows for group exercise and organized play is ideal. Family communities will want to have spaces that allow for family play, including basketball courts and a swimming pool. "Baby Boomers" want their fitness center to be convenient, easy to use, and to provide the personal expertise of a fitness trainer or one-on-one classes.
Laying the Foundation For Fitness
Fitness center design includes spaces that cater to the various sports, instructional programs and other activities that involve groups, as well as more individual activities such as weight training and cardiovascular training. Many fitness centers also have outdoor facilities, including sports fields, a running track, and even a swimming pool. Spinning classes, as well as other group-based activities, should figure in to the design of the fitness center. Fitness center design may also include primarily social components, such as a snack bar, saunas, and hot tubs. Outdoor and indoor spectator seating may also be part of the design.
In general, a center should have an adequate fitness space to house the various pieces of equipment, an area for stretching and warming-up, and an indoor running track, if possible. Group exercise rooms and enclosed ballrooms for racquetball or squash are possibilities if your resident crowd tends to be comprised of young professionals or those basking in the glow of early retirement.
If families make up the majority of your residence, children's play areas or a child care room will be a welcome addition to the space.
The Right Tools
The bulk of the big equipment will be going into the main fitness space. Regardless of the dominant demographic among your residents, you will want to include the mainstays, such as cardiovascular equipment, free weights, and cable-operates weight machines or other selectorized weight machines.
Cardiovascular equipment will include anything from ellipticals and treadmills, to stationary bikes and other full-body equipment. Though not a piece of machinery, the running track is also a part of the spaces cardiovascular equipment.
Weight training equipment typically has a dedicated space or room in a fitness center.
Weight lifting and resistance training are also important and popular fitness center activities. Sets of free weight can easily be fit into the common areas. Weight lifting machines and resistance machines such as the Pilates reformer are a good fit any fitness center, satisfying the particular needs of a variety of residents.
Getting With the Program
Arguably the biggest difference between one residential community fitness center and another is what that fitness center has to offer in the way of amenities. Having one or more personal fitness trainers on-site to offer personalized guidance is an important desire for both young and middle-aged residents. Residents will also look at their fitness center and evaluate if it is providing a variety of classes and organized activities. Residents in their 20s and 30s especially will be looking for group spinning classes, dance classes, and activities that incorporate game elements.
Consulting a Fitness Management Company
Designing a fitness center that meets all criteria is as about producing a facility you can be proud of as it is to produce one that your residents can be proud to attend. A lot of work has to be done to accomplish this, and sometimes it pays to enlist professionals to help with the planning, purchasing and overall guidance of the project. Sometimes you need a fitness management company.
Fitness management companies can assist with the planning and design, equipment purchasing, and on-going management of your fitness center.
Fitness management companies, such as Active Wellness, are involved in every stage of fitness center planning and design. They can help with the creation of the design, contributing their expertise to take your needs, your resident desires, and create a dynamic and appealing facility that satisfies all.
Active Wellness also is invaluable in furnishing the fitness center, as it were. Procuring equipment, from large cardio pieces and weight machines, to the smaller resistance pieces and even hand-weights, is one of the many services that a fitness management company provides to their clients.
Finally, Active Wellness offers a fitness center "turn-key" solution, applying their experience and management skill to the daily running of the fitness center. Managing fitness programs and arranging special activities and seasonal functions are just a tiny part of what a fitness management company such as Active Wellness can do for you.
Designing a fitness center to suit a variety of different types of residents may seem impossible. With so much to handle, it can be difficult to focus and solve problems effectively. Understanding your community's needs and preferences, and enlisting the help of a fitness management company earlier on, will set you, and your fitness center, up for success.
Updated Nov 2, 2016.
Community planners and developers know that prospective residents have certain features and requirements that they consistently look for and evaluate when searching for their new residence. Health and fitness have become important concerns for people, so it is very important to have a well-designed fitness center suited to the needs of your target residents.
A high quality fitness center has become a very important amenity in residential and community developments.
For many planners and developers, utilizing the expertise of a fitness management company such as Active Wellness is the best way to ensure that your new fitness center fulfills the needs of your residents, as well as satisfying budget requirements and meeting all codes and regulations.
So, what constitutes a well-designed fitness center? What criteria should you be considering as you work with Active Wellness to design your space? What are the essential components of fitness center design?
Making the Most of Your Space
There are certain spatial requirements when handling fitness center design, considerations that concern the equipment and the exercise activities. In order to accommodate the function of the exercise equipment, particularly the height clearances of upright equipment, the ceilings of the space need to be at least 12 feet high. For many of the fitness center's other spaces, special surfaces may be required, including cushioned surface for training, impact-resistant walls, and mirrored walls.
Specialty spaces, such as weight rooms, should be designed with the correct height clearances for the equipment.
Air circulation is another important key factor, and the flow of air throughout the facility needs to be anticipated and factored into the design.
Durability All Around
Surfaces, including the floors, should be durable and attractive throughout the fitness center.
Fitness centers are meant to be used and, to some extent, abused, and that should be taken into account when working on the design. Vibration from the use of exercise and weight equipment is a concern, and the use of more structural steel in the initial construction will help to reduce the transmission of these vibrations.
The interior durability of the space includes the finishes on the floors, walls, and other surfaces. These should all be durable and easy to maintain.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Let's face it, fitness centers are noisy, and controlling that noise begins in the initial design stages. Acoustical control in the form of sound baffles are the most common choice for reducing the impact of noise around weight rooms and certain exercise rooms.
Perhaps the important element of fitness center design, with the exception of equipment choices, is the design of the ventilation system. Not only does it need to ensure proper air circulation and ventilation throughout the fitness center, but it also needs to control humidity and prevent the migration of odors to other parts of the space. In addition, fitness centers will usually have negative air pressure, making proper ventilation even more important.
As a residential planner or community developer, there are many issues you have to handle when constructing a new fitness center. From mapping out the interior space to handle the equipment and activities desired to handle sound and lighting issues to making sure that the entire space is ventilated.
By utilizing a fitness management company such as Active Wellness, you can ensure that all the important elements of construction and fitness center design are handled with care and accuracy.
Updated Nov 3, 2016
Living healthy has become a priority for many people these days, perhaps none more so than the Millennial Generation. For Millennials, ranging in age from late teens to mid-thirties, living an active and health-conscious lifestyle guides their choices in where they live and what they eat, and in their choice to make fitness a part of their everyday lives.