Community Wellness –Attract, Retain, Build Community and Make a Difference!
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Benjamin Franklin was on the cutting edge of wellness programming even in the 1700's. He knew then that prevention is the best savings plan. And…not just monetary savings, but also life saving. So, if you could improve your resident’s quality of life and save yourself some money, time and effort.. wouldn’t that be a win win for everyone?
One of the most expensive things you do is to fill vacant units. But what if you could promote better retention through strong community? Maybe you already have a cooking club, a movie night or Sunday brunch. If you do, that is a great start to building community. “Look around you. Less than 5% of Americans meet the daily minimum activity recommendation. Over 35% of adults are obese and 17% of children. Healthcare spending has tripled since 1990, along with the size of our waistlines. A simple 10% decrease in inactivity could decrease healthcare spending by $150 million per year.” (Dr. Toni Yancey; Professor of Health Sciences UCLA 2013)
As property managers you are in a unique position to positively impact both your resident’s and your own bottom (so to speak). On-site fitness programming not only promotes well workforces and healthy communities but it enables social infrastructure thus promoting retention. Individuals who participate in organized and monitored fitness activity have higher adherence rates and therefore achieve better fitness/wellness results.
Fitness program participation brings members of the community who may not otherwise meet TOGETHER on common ground . Residential Group Classes might include a stay at home Mom, independent business owner, the local dentist, military service member and night shift worker. Plus other organized activities like gym orientations can engage new residents with the community sooner in the resident acclimation process and reduce wear and tear on equipment because they are learning how to properly and safely operate the equipment. Community common areas become friendlier and more congenial as fitness participants cross paths on the way in and out of the community, getting their mail or walking their dogs.
Experts agree that group exercise can be beneficial. "Working out in a group provides support, accountability, and structure," says Lynne Vaughan, Chief Innovation Officer of the national YMCA. "People don't want to let their buddy or group down, which is terrific in terms of adherence to an exercise routine.” Patient information published in the Journal of American Academy of Physician Assistants also recommends that people exercise with a partner or group because they "are more likely to stay on track." The group encourages exercisers to involve family members, friends, and even pets, as "dogs need exercise too." So why not provide that supportive group right where people live?
The best news…. you don’t need a big budget, designated space or fancy fitness center to positively impact your residents. Any open area, inside or out, will work. The most important ingredients are exercise formats your community has expressed an interest in, a qualified and experienced group fitness leader and your support. Community built through fitness = a great idea!
Deno Bell is founder of Fit-X Fitness; a concierge fitness management company providing group fitness, personal training and wellness programs for residential communities and small to medium sized corporations and in Southern California since 1995. Fit-X Fitness gets people moving and keeps people moving where they live work and play.
Deno has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years as a business owner, certified practicing fitness professional and most recently as a worksite wellness certificate holder. She has worked closely with developers from start up to lease up and ongoing operation of rental and HOA communities in San Diego. She is also a wife, mother, pet lover, school volunteer and Girl Scout Leader.