Fitness & Exercise

Gateway to Exercise

By Scott Goudeseune

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here is no question that health and physical fitness are hot topics nationwide, as initiatives such as the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity and the debate over the role of a healthy lifestyle in fighting disease and curbing healthcare costs repeatedly have made headlines in recent months. With more Americans than ever before interested in exercise and physical activity, there is no better time for recreation facilities to examine their fitness offerings. How can you boost your facility's services to best meet the fitness needs of your community? The answer may be in supplementing your recreation programming and physical facilities with online resources.

Even as the economy shows signs of improving, today's consumer is still concerned with money and time. With tight budgets and increasingly hectic schedules, people are looking for ways to improve their health that are both time- and cost-efficient. One of the best ways to meet this need is to go online, where a wealth of free, easily accessible tools exist to help individuals enhance their time spent inside a facility or club and further achieve a healthy, active lifestyle. Credible sources are offering trustworthy, valuable tools online that can help your staff better connect with your guests and members, while providing a complete fitness experience that allows your patrons to maximize the benefits of your recreation programming and services.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) celebrated its 25th anniversary this year with the launch of a new "Get Fit" portal, located at www.acefitness.org/GetFit, designed to inform, inspire, educate and motivate people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. This expanded Web site provides fitness professionals, as well as health club and recreation facility managers, with resources to supplement their client services, including safe and effective exercises and workout routines, unbiased fitness reviews, health and fitness tips offering insight into the latest studies, trends and workouts, and exclusive research on fitness products and trends.

The resources found on "Get Fit" are intended to help your facility staff better serve clientele by offering a vast arsenal of health and fitness information and tools that your trainers, program leaders and group instructors can use to keep their programs and classes continually relevant, interesting and challenging. Additionally, fitness and recreation professionals can refer their members and patrons to these resources to build on the fitness experience your facility offers. Clients who engage in steps to pursue a healthier, active lifestyle at home will be more invested in their health progress, making their participation in recreation and exercise programming a continual priority.

Easy-to-navigate, free resources that recreation staff and fitness professionals can access through "Get Fit" include:

  • Exercise Library & Workouts: ACE's extensive online library and workout programs provide step-by-step instruction on how to properly and safely perform proven exercises, ranging from beginner to advanced levels, at maximum effec-tiveness. Draw from the free sample workouts, or incorporate the individual exercises into your fitness programming to meet the varied needs of your members.
  • Calculators/Tools: A series of interactive health and fitness calculators and tools help both consumers and fitness professionals properly tailor an exercise and fitness program to their needs. These tools and calculators allow both your staff and your patrons to view their progress as they participate in recreational programming, and better quantify the health benefits they are enjoying from regular participation in your facility's offerings.
  • Reviews: Deemed the nation's "workout watchdog," ACE conducts independent expert reviews that target fitness products, programs and trends to empower consumers and fitness enthusiasts to make informed decisions. These product reviews can help recreation facility managers determine which fitness equipment and products are worth purchasing and integrating into your facility, and which may not be worth the buy.
  • Fit Facts: ACE experts have created more than 100 Fit Facts, datasheets that contain valuable health and fitness information and tips. Each Fit Fact covers a different health and fitness topic that is downloadable and perfect for posting in your facility or sharing with members on your Web site.
  • Research Studies: ACE enlists the expertise of top researchers at major universities across the country to conduct studies on fitness products and trends, with the purpose of protecting the public against unsafe and ineffective products. Facility managers can use this research as a resource to be sure the programs and equipment their facility uses are both safe and effective for patrons.
  • Other features include a free database of more than 2,000 healthy recipes, an "Ask the Expert" blog that uses ACE's team of certified personal trainers to answer consumers' fitness questions, an extensive database to help consumers find an ACE-certified trainer and resources for youth fitness.

As more and more clients turn to digital resources to help organize their busy lives, it is only natural that even fitness has a place online. Recreation facilities that embrace the wealth of fitness tools and resources easily available to them on the Internet will find themselves better suited to meet the ever-changing needs of their members by staying at the forefront of new health and fitness information, exercise products and programming, and ways to reach consumers that best fit their lifestyle.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott Goudeseune is the president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a leading authority on fitness and the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, where he oversees all aspects of operations and provides extensive leadership and direction for all business activities.




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