Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Liven Up Your Senior Living Community Fitness Center

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 2.34.17 PMPicture this: You are 78 years old touring a senior living community with the marketing and sales coordinator. They take you to the ground floor or basement of the building and they flip on the lights of the uninhabited fitness center. It has painted cinderblock walls, fluorescent lights, no windows, and a hodgepodge of equipment. It feels deserted and you wonder how active the community is.

You then tour a neighboring community and you see the fitness center on the main floor, with sleek and contemporary equipment, dedicated staff leading residents through a workout, light pouring in through the windows, and more residents passing by in the hallway just having left the bistro next door from an afternoon coffee talk.

These two environments paint highly different images of a community and the residents’ experience engaging in an active lifestyle. While the ground-floor space is quiet and functional for exercise, the main-floor fitness center conveys vibrancy and a sense of community. It is a space to inspire residents to be active and champion a healthy lifestyle. The purpose of my comparison is not to bash ground-floor fitness centers, however; we have developed highly successful fitness programs in this exact environment. But if you have the means to move your fitness center to a more central location, it’s something to consider.

Moving the Fitness Center out of the Basement

Over the years, we have witnessed more and more clients bringing their fitness centers out of the basement or tucked-away spaces and positioning the fitness center as part of the central hub of activity alongside their dining venues and auditoriums. It isn’t just another room where people who like to exercise can go. It is in the forefront and inspires residents to go exercise!

This type of renovation can be easier said than done in finding the space, resources, and more to make this kind of transition happen. Even if you don’t have the resources at the moment to renovate or relocate your fitness center, there is plenty that communities can do to cultivate that inspiring and engaging environment. After all, we’ve seen some of the most beautiful, state-of-the-art fitness centers go underutilized without proper staffing support for residents.

Liven Up Your Fitness Space

Consider these three tips to liven up any fitness space.

  • Staffing, staffing, staffing! Of course I’m going to beat this drum, but we’ve watched underutilized fitness centers from 800 square feet to 2,500 square feet blossom into lively and inviting spaces simply by adding qualified fitness staffing who build relationships with the residents and offer quality programs and services. Give your fitness center a personal connection and draw for residents.
  • Give it a facelift: It’s always amazing what a coat of paint and fresh flooring can do for a space. If your space is lacking windows, make sure plenty of lighting is available and choose a light paint color.
  • Update the small supplies: Sometimes the small supplies of dumbbells, stability balls, ankle weights, and so on can overrun a space and make it feel cluttered without proper storage solutions. Consider how these items are housed and consider making small investments in storage options or replacing items. A dumbbell rack with uniform weights, for example, is much sleeker than mismatched styles and colors you’ve accumulated over time.

If you are looking to give your space an upgrade or interested in more information on qualified staffing to champion your fitness program, contact the experts at NIFS.

Find out more about a free consulting session with NIFS >

Topics: senior fitness senior living community senior living fitness center fitness center design equipment fitness center staffing improve your fitness center

NIFS Consulting: Helping Your Fitness Program Go from Good to GREAT!

Fitness management services are the foundation of our business, but did you know we also offer an array of consulting services to support communities who do not staff with us? While it isn’t quite the same as having our qualified staff on the ground daily at your community, many clients have found a consulting partnership with NIFS to be advantageous in connecting their own staff, amenities, and more with an industry expert who can provide them with the direction and resources to elevate the programs they are providing their residents.

5 Consulting Opportunities with the NIFS Experts

Here are some ways that you can collaborate with NIFS to improve your fitness and wellness offerings:

  1. Facility layout and design: As operators of fitness centers across the country, we know how to make spaces flow for improved member experience and overall function. We also have national buying power with top equipment manufacturers to bring your facility the right equipment for your users. Whether it’s a fitness center or pool, we can help you identify the right pieces of exercise equipment to incorporate into a creative and expertly designed space.
  2. Staff hiring and training: 20181024_080931-1From group fitness instructors, to personal trainers, to fitness managers, finding the right people is at the heart of what we do, and our interview and vetting process helps us find the best of the best. If you are looking for support in recognizing fitness qualifications and making the right hire for your community, NIFS can lead your interview process. We can also aid in the training process once you make your hire to get your new team member on the right path and connected to NIFS resources and programming materials.
  3. Wellness program design: Let us help you identify fresh opportunities to create purpose and intention in the lifestyle cultivated for your residents. We know how to break down the silos and bring together enrichment, health services, fitness, rehab, food and beverage, spiritual services, and more for seamless programming that is both seen and felt by your residents. Conceptually, many communities struggle with getting these key stakeholders in resident well-being collaborating with a unified vision, and we can help you bridge this into reality.
  4. Data collection and evaluation: It’s difficult to determine how effective your programs and services are and how many people you are reaching consistently if you don’t have data to evaluate. We can help your fitness staff develop an efficient system for tracking participation data, identify key benchmarks to measure and evaluate over time, as well craft SMART goals to continually strive toward program enhancements.
  5. Group fitness program design: Residents love their group fitness classes, but are you certain that your community has an array of classes to address the main components of fitness throughout the week for varying intensity levels? We have a niche for developing robust group fitness programs as well as best practices on how to market the classes, how to attract new faces, and how to keep the classes fresh so that this resident favorite at your community reaches more individuals and remains strong.

Even if your organization does not avail itself of the full range of fitness management services that NIFS offers, you can still consider consulting with us on specific pieces of the puzzle to strengthen your fitness and wellness offerings. Not sure what to expect when utilizing our consulting services?  Check out our quick read below for more information.

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Topics: nifs fitness management nifs fitness management staffing data collection fitness center design fitness center staffing program management senior wellness consulting

Why Corporate Fitness Center Design Matters

Corporate_Fitness_Center-1When a business makes the commitment to put in a corporate fitness center, they are making a statement (hopefully one of many) about how important their employees’ health is. It’s a substantial investment, and the project is not to be taken lightly. 

From an outside perspective, you might think there’s not much to designing this kind of space. Put up the walls, install the equipment, and you’re ready to go, right? I suppose you can charge ahead with that philosophy, but you may be leaving quite a bit to chance in terms of building a space that is safe, efficient, and effective for your employees. 

From conception to completion, we’ve had the privilege of being involved in dozens of fitness center design projects over the last several years. Below are three reasons why we think thoughtful design in corporate fitness is key to a successful fitness center program.

 Webinar Series: The Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Selecting the best equipment influences the success of your space.

When deciding which exercise equipment you want for your space, be sure to do your homework. Every sales rep will offer to lay out your space with their equipment for free. And every rep will tell you that their equipment is the best. Carefully lay out the features that are most important to you (don’t forget about warranty), and make a pro/con list for the equipment you’re considering to determine what will work best in your space and for your employees.

Hiring the right staff will help maximize use of the fitness center.

Only about 20% of American adults are meeting the physical activity guidelines as offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (And that’s probably a falsely high estimate because the data is gathered through self-report mechanisms.) So you can expect that less than 20% of your workforce would get enough exercise even if you didn’t put in an onsite fitness center. Simply offering a corporate fitness program isn’t enough to get employees in the inactive 80% camp to start moving. 

Corporate fitness is not an “if you build it, they will come” proposition. Having the right staff on board can make a big difference on utilization of spaces and programs through the fitness center. But you have to build the space from a user’s perspective in order to provide opportunities to maximize the programming that invites new participants. 

Your fitness management staff should be able to keep track of key metrics as well as provide a variety of programs (including group fitness classes) and services designed to draw in more users on a regular basis. 

Establishing the best possible layout will make a difference for users.

Thoughtful design will take into account the quantity and types of equipment needed in the space, as well as intended uses for the environment. For example, if you have an employee audience with an insatiable appetite for group fitness classes, don’t skimp on your studio space. Make it large enough to accommodate anticipated volume, and equip it with the right types of storage to house the group class toys. Carefully research what’s needed for the group fitness stereo, and pay close attention to work areas adjacent to the studio space to make sure that soundproofing is available where needed. 

Adequate locker room and shower space is a must, and easy access to drinking water is essential. Flooring surfaces need to be carefully considered along with where to place mirrors, how to orient equipment near and around windows, and what staff office/desk spaces will accommodate. 

And you should rely 100% on your architectural team to provide all of those elements for the space initially. But it’s not reasonable to expect that team to understand, from an operator’s perspective, how your fitness staff and employees will work and exercise in the space. Unless your architect had a previous career managing a corporate fitness center, my experience is that the architect might miss some key elements in the design that would ultimately inhibit the end-user experience.

If this brief outline of key design and program elements for your fitness center has you thinking you might be in over your head, check out our fitness center design sampling, or contact me to talk through the questions brought on from reading this post.

Topics: corporate fitness centers participation corporate wellness staffing fitness center design equipment corporate wellness consulting