Recruiting residents to participate in your community fitness offerings can be a challenge. Most communities offer a variety of standard services, classes, and programs to try to regularly engage their residents. Whether you are wanting to recruit new residents or spark some enthusiasm for your regulars, read on to learn about three nontraditional programming ideas that can help boost participation in your community fitness offerings.
Fashion Show – Yes that’s right, I said a fashion show. Many residents show up to exercise in their normal clothes (dress slacks, button-down shirts and all)! While this is OK for some modes of activity, educating residents on the importance of exercising in appropriate active wear, including proper footwear, can be inspiring and quite helpful for some individuals. Contact a local boutique with active wear apparel and host a fashion show at your community while providing residents with an option to purchase what they are seeing. You could work with the boutique to allow your residents to be the models so residents can see firsthand that exercise apparel can be fashionable, comfortable, and appropriate for older adults. Don’t forget about swimwear! Many older adults shy away from participating in pool programming because of not having purchased a swimsuit in perhaps decades. Bring the suits, water shoes, etc., to your fashion show and remove this barrier for your residents!
Philanthropic Program – Let’s face it, it can be a challenge to come up with prize ideas for residents to recognize their efforts in incentive programs that will truly get them excited. While older adults recognize the importance of physical activity for their own vitality, finding ways to ignite enthusiasm into their workout is still important to keep things fresh and fun. Connect a fitness program with a philanthropic approach instead of a traditional prizes like water bottles, t-shirts, or pedometers. Establish a community goal that if residents come together to achieve X minutes of walking or attend X number of group exercise classes in a month, the community will make a monetary donation to a local charitable organization. You could even include a canned food donation requirement as an entry fee to your group exercise classes for the month. Chart the residents’ progress through the month so they can see how they are doing and they can recruit their friends and neighbors to participate.
Educational Lectures – Well qualified fitness staff with an educational background in health and fitness can contribute more to resident wellness than exercise instruction alone. Tap into this educational background and recruit your fitness staff to share their expertise and educate residents on a variety of health and wellness topics on a regular basis. This can help some residents begin engaging with the fitness staff in a way they may otherwise never do if avoiding the fitness center. When your fitness staff can demonstrate that they are knowledgeable about various health conditions or other resident interests, they can begin building trust and relationships that will hopefully translate into engaging that resident in the appropriate fitness services for their needs.
Find out more about how NIFS provides these ideas and others through wellness consulting at senior living communities. Or, check out how one client uses NIFS wellness consulting for better marketing outcomes in her communities.