Source: TechnogymAn overhead shot of Technogym's Wellness Village in Italy.An overhead shot of Technogym's Wellness Village in Italy.

Cesena, October 2013 - It was 1983, the golden age of body building and hedonism. The US-branded stereotype of hyper-muscular fitness à la Sylvester Stallone and Jane Fonda was all the rage world-wide. In Cesena, Romagna, Italy, young Nerio Alessandri thought differently: to him, physical exercise meant a lot more - the essential condition to guarantee a person's wellbeing. This insight led to the concept of Wellness: a 100% Italian lifestyle with its roots deep in the ancient Roman saying of "mens sana in corpore sano" - based on regular physical activity, healthy eating habits and a positive mental attitude.

Guided by his vision, Alessandri - who had found a way to combine his passions for design, technology and sport - designed and built his first equipment in his home garage. Today, 30 years on, Technogym is world leader in the field of fitness and wellness and official supplier to the last 5 editions of the Olympic Games. The company currently employs some 2200 workers, exports 90% of its output to over 100 Countries, and has equipped 65 thousand Wellness centres and over 100 thousand homes worldwide.

In the transition from Alessandri's home garage to the Technogym Village, the Wellness campus that opened last year in the presence of the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and of Bill Clinton, perspectives, objectives and technologies have changed, but the approach is still the same: to associate dreams and vision with day-to-day commitment and focus on each and every detail.

Research and innovation have always been the driving force behind Technogym's growth - with innovation applied to everything from products to services and to the company's business model. Technogym recently launched "Wellness on the go," a new vision of fitness and wellness allowing access to one's personalised training experience everywhere in the world and at any time, thanks to Technogym Ecosystem: the ecosystem created by Technogym to integrate equipment, dedicated mobile apps, the digital platform mywellness cloud as well as specific content, programs and services.

A strongly-felt responsibility as the promoter and diffuser of wellness has always guided the company in its business dealings. "Wellness is a social opportunity for everybody: for governments to reduce health costs, for companies to increase productivity and realise their staff's full potential, and for society as a whole to improve people's health and daily lifestyles", this is the thinking behind Nerio Alessandri's Wellness Foundation, the non-profit organisation started 10 years ago to help create a more sustainable society, making the most of the experience and knowledge acquired in 20 years of Technogym activity worldwide.

On an international scale, thanks to the commitment of Alessandri and the Wellness Foundation, Wellness now features as a fixed item in the agendas of the World Economic Forum of Davos and was even at the centre of an initiative sponsored by the United Nations in New York. Sparked off by Alessandri's intuition, the Wellness Valley project was born, aimed at creating in the Italian region of Romagna the first wellness district in Europe: a 'laboratory of experiences' to raise the bar of personal quality standards and leverage wellness as an opportunity for local economic development.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.