The outdoor training method continues to gain popularity because it encourages camaraderie, accountability and intensity while still allowing trainers to offer individualized attention.
Outdoor equipment, such as the Synrgy BlueSky from Life Fitness, can provide various configurations that can accommodate exercisers at any fitness level. Photo courtesy of Life Fitness.
Take an indoor small group training class and transplant it from the health club to the outdoors. A simple venue change can immediately increase a class's energy level and improve mood. This outdoor training concept is not new. Rather, it's a return to the industry's roots. Before health clubs existed, exercisers hit the pavement to stay in shape.
Now the outdoor concept is re-emerging in popularity among fitness professionals and exercisers, and health clubs are seeking solutions to incorporate this training while still providing value for their customers. The outdoor training method continues to gain popularity because it encourages camaraderie, accountability and intensity while still allowing trainers to offer individualized attention. Group training creates an energetic workout atmosphere, and exercisers benefit from the fun and supportive environment. With outdoor training systems, exercisers get the best of both worlds: the energy boost from working out in the great outdoors and the inviting, but challenging, small group training atmosphere.
"Outdoor training is in demand with exercisers, and by providing a multitude of configurations on an outdoor system, you can empower trainers to create fun, energetic classes that can incorporate circuits and interval training," says Deborah McConnell, global master trainer for Life Fitness. "This versatility keeps exercisers engaged and allows for easy modifications to fit varying abilities."
Beyond the physical and group benefits of exercising outdoors, research also has shown mental benefits. Moderate exposure to sunlight increases our mood and gives our bodies a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Studies have shown that 44 percent of exercisers prefer outdoor workout options, and 20 minutes outdoors can result in a greater feeling of vitality.
New solutions to accommodate this outdoor training trend are sure to take off in the coming years, and rightly so. They help club operators think outside the box to create revenue-generating options that go beyond their clubs' four walls. Aside from the benefits to existing members, outdoor systems provide curb appeal, too. Clubs can strategically place units outside of their facility to attract potential members. Additionally, this type of outside unit opens up more spatial opportunities inside—a win-win situation that allows clubs to increase class and layout options.
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Life Fitness manufactures and sells strength and cardiovascular equipment under the brand names Life Fitness and Hammer Strength and distributes its equipment in more than 120 countries. Headquartered outside of Chicago in Rosemont, IL, Life Fitness is a division of Brunswick Corp. For more information, visit www.lifefitness.com.