2022 is right around the corner! Fitness and wellness based trends continue to progress and we’ve curated Aktiv’s top five picks to help inform considerations in fitness facility design and guest accommodation.

1. A Clearer Focus on Health

Not surprisingly, study after study reveals that people are more focused on the overall health of themselves and loved ones since the Coronavirus Outbreak. 50 percent of consumers are taking greater care of their well-being since 2021, according to a report shared by Les Mills. In the report, 82 percent exercise regularly, or now plan to, and 75 percent intend to do so at the gym.

This presents serious growth considerations for fitness providers and amenities operators across all spectrums, but its critical to take note that the desired outcome of “working out” has shifted.

We are no longer in a world where the majority of those seeking gym time are primarily focused on their physical appearance outcomes. People are concerned about having the highest standards of protection from COVID. Further, in general they are more aware than ever about ways to increase their quality of life through increased personal health. This will play out in demand for a greater variety in exercise experiences and flexible workout spaces.

2. Back to the Gym

Following a long period of lockdown restrictions, the appetite for live fitness experiences is soaring. The Les Mills report shows group fitness classes are busier than ever – some at 120 percent of pre-COVID levels in markets where capacity restrictions have lifted. In the amenity segment, Multi-family housing developers have been busy building larger and more diverse exercise facilities to accommodate the healthy lifestyle preferences of their residents.​

Gym chain Planet Fitness recently reported its third-quarter results and celebrated a near return to its pre-pandemic peak in terms of membership numbers. It currently has 15 million members – at its peak, it had 15.5 million.

“People are choosing bricks and mortar. They’re coming back faster than we’ve ever seen. They’re rejoining our clubs faster than we’ve ever seen. The Gen Z’s are joining faster than we’ve ever seen,” CEO Chris Rondeau said on CNBC’s Mad Money.

According to foot traffic data noted in this Peloton article, visits to fitness centers in the US are returning to 2019 levels. Gym visits were down by about 8% in early October compared with the same period in 2019. All of this data demonstrates that commercial and communal fitness facilities and workout sessions have stood the test of time. Although massively disrupted, they have by no means become replaced. Rather, it is thought that the growth experienced in recent times within the home gym segment will serve to ultimately complement, not replace public exercise experiences. One can only hope those who did make decisions to begin exercise at home will stick with it. When the dust settles, its anticipated that exercise seekers will consume at-home, outdoor, and fitness facility sessions in balance.

3. Convenience Is Key

Despite gyms and fitness centers attracting substantial regrowth, COVID-induced habits will live on. A big part of committing to a routine of any type is convenience. Today our daily shopping habits have been dramatically affected by what can be purchased online vs any number of in person shopping rituals. Fitness is no exception. If driving to the gym is not convenient or worth the experience it provides in the form of community, equipment, guidance, and cost, alternative exercise offerings will continue to be valued. We are witnessing a new generation of Multi-family fitness centers, corporate wellness spaces, student recreation facilities, and better appointed hotel gyms that demonstrate a strong combination of convenience and value. These new third spaces for exercise are creating new opportunities to augment the offerings of traditional health clubs and home exercise set ups. No matter the facility type for fitness, accessibility and inclusiveness are key to attracting those that increasingly are seeking healthy experiences.

4. Focus on Recovery

According to the  National Academy for Sports Medicine, recovery from training has become recognized as one of the most important aspects of physical activity and overall wellness. As facilities sort through the myriad of recovery strategies and their varied levels of accommodation, it’s important to remember that both scientific and anecdotal evidence point to the value of an appropriate recovery component to your fitness facility offering.

Make sure to include a Recovery zone or space dedicated to this lower energy training modality. Ensure that you have planned for proper storage of various tools such as foam rollers, mats, and popular massage gun training devices such as Hyperice.

5. Increased Demand for Movement Oriented Spaces

One takeaway has become abundantly clear: In order to remain competitive, fitness facilities of all types must offer flexible training spaces designed to facilitate dynamic functional movements and multiple training modalities. These training spaces should be accessible to individuals and group programs alike.

In many facilities, the balance of cardio equipment, strength equipment, and functional open spaces have now become out of balance in light of these changes in consumer preferences. Crafting the fitness space is about maximizing exercise facilitation, not equipment per square foot.

One of the biggest disparities today can be found in Cardiovascular equipment, which is consistently the most expensive equipment per unit in any fitness space.  Consider this insight from an article in Club Solutions, “Cardio Purchasing Decisions and Data”:

“What members and traffic have told us is people want more space to workout in, and we don’t need as much cardio equipment as we have been putting in.” – Mike Feeney, Executive Vice President of New Evolution Fitness

While the cardio floor is an essential area of most general exercise facilities, you may be packing too many pieces of equipment into the space. Alternatively, seek to create open and flexible spaces that are well balanced by traditional single purpose cardiovascular and strength training equipment.

Creating fitness spaces that meet the broadening demands of club members, hotel guests, and home fitness participants requires planning and future proofing.

To meet with one of our Functional Design Specialists, click here.

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