While for most of us warm weather months are more conducive to outdoor physical activity than cold months, that time frame too has its ups and downs. For instance, the run of hot & humid weather we’ve been experiencing in southern and eastern Ontario really puts a premium on keeping hydrated, also ipso facto making compromises on outside efforts.
A health and conditioning option unaffected structurally by the change of seasons is the gym or fitness centre (descriptions have become marketability more imaginative in recent years). We’ve been seeing a popping up of locations, with new athletic chains offering broader in-house features; not co-incidentally, this somewhat parallels the growth in retirement and LTC facilities.
We recently experienced the state of disruption in an area of our city.
By the end of March, a popular YM/YWCA gym near the south end shut down, largely a victim of mall renovation politics. All members were forced to decide either to transfer within the chain, or opt out and look to hook up with a different facility. After one inspection of the most practical chain option, we chose the latter route – which became like shopping for a big ticket item, going to location after location, adding up its pluses and minuses. It was disappointing to see how many had more downsides. If fact, it was only earlier this week that we signed on with a new athletic complex opening later this year, but not before going through a much more detailed agreement process than many moons ago with the Y.
Meanwhile, still time to devote to those active outdoor options, weather permitting of course.
However, given the expanding role of fitness centres engaged with an aging population, but acknowledging a desire for flexibility to meet individual needs, there may be more specialized services such businesses should offer in time…
- Portable mini-ramps in parking lots, for members to pull up and make it easier climbing into their vehicles after a strenuous work-out
- Bottles of flavoured water, so the colours better match workout outfits
- Towels with various sized inscriptions, so members can test their eyes before making an appointment with an optometrist
- Mini-microphones which can be worn for communicating when it’s difficult to be heard over piped-in music
- Glowing lights and changing murals around pools, providing distractions to help reduce self-consciousness of some swimmers
- Fitness classes of only three to four people, so it’s easier to have people at the same pace keep up with each other
- Pens and pencils attached to cords, to help those who would otherwise ‘forget’ to return them
- Floor escalators, to assist keeping those with very tired bodies moving along
One only hopes that membership costs to cover such innovations also offer flexibility, allowing for opting out of services not required – as long as they can be reconsidered sometime down the road.