Enter the Wellness Dimension

Focus on the six dimensions of wellness to transform your fitness center into a wellness center.

By incorporating the six dimensions of wellness (physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social and vocational) into your facility's layout and design, you can create additional entry points for potential members to join, and can offer existing members a wider selection of services, which can help with retention efforts. To create the right environment to support your wellness programs, you will need the following: one underused room that can hold 20 or more people (make sure it is in a quiet area), 20 foldable tables and 20 foldable chairs, one staff member to organize and manage the program, one internal or external garden space, and audio/visual equipment (data projector, large screen).

The Intellectual Dimension

The room you set aside can now be called the Brain Gym. Paint the room a color that is conducive to creativity, such as light green. Avoid stark white, as well as bold or dark colors. You may also want to install a large screen on one wall and a data projector on the wall facing it, so instructors and presenters can use this equipment when delivering programs.

Programs include everything from language classes to travel preparation classes (which work nicely in promoting exercise, as participants need to be fit for travel). You could also work with a local computer store to offer computer training or courses for older adults on how to use the Internet. Other computer offerings include brain fitness programs, such as those offered by Posit Science and Cogni-Fit. The majority of your intellectual programming can be offered by outside businesses that have an interest in presenting to your members.

The Spiritual Dimension

Use your garden space for the spiritual dimension. This area needs to be private and quiet, and to connect users with nature through simple things such as the sound of running water. Partner with a local landscaping company capable of creating this meditation garden in exchange for your promoting the company to your members. Use lots of greenery, and make sure you don't put it beside a busy road or driveway.

You can use this garden area for meditation and breathing classes, tai chi, stretching, yoga, Pilates and walking. In down times, this space can offer a relaxing environment for readers.

The Social Dimension

Your business will benefit when current and potential members have opportunities to connect with each other, whether in the group exercise setting or through internal clubs (e.g., travel or book-of-the-month clubs). Most fitness centers already have space for the social dimension, such as by the pool, in the lobby, in a lounge or at the juice bar. The key to addressing this dimension is structured and unstructured socialization.

The Physical Dimension

The physical dimension is the bread and butter of a fitness center. To send the message that your center is truly geared toward wellness, you may want to reconsider your facility's name. For example, instead of Tony's Fitness Center, you may want to go with Tony's Wellness Center, or Tony's Fitness and Wellness Center. Also make sure that your equipment and services are accessible to all.

The Vocational Dimension

Vocational programs offer members the opportunity to get involved in new experiences and vocations. Offer classes or mentoring programs, or encourage participants to become health educators in the community (promoting your services and the value of wellness at health fairs, schools, malls, etc.).

The Emotional Dimension

Incorporating all of the above into your facility will enhance the emotional health of members. Programming is key. You can use your Brain Gym to offer laughter workshops or stress management classes, for example.
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