The holidays were fun but now it’s time to pay the price. Research shows that after the turn of the year, and when the days are still short, all kinds of things happen to people’s moods and stress level. Anxiety increases (did I spend too much, can I handle this debt?); sleep patterns change with the seasonal shift (why am I sleeping so badly?) and in areas where the sun is in short supply, SAD syndrome affects many. As your residents go about the business of getting back to work, resolve to give them a boost with some simple ideas to help them lower their stress levels with exercise and mindful relaxation.
First priority – get them back in (your) gym
You can’t help residents beat their stress if they’re not in the gym, so the first priority is to get them back through the door. Chances are the vast majority of them just did the same thing – made bold declarations and resolutions to get back in shape, drop a few pounds or get back in the routine of going to the gym after the holiday break. But as soon as the weather dips, the wind picks up and the snow flies, it’s human nature to hunker down and hole up at home.
Many people, despite their best intentions, don’t make it to their club after work. But the convenience of a fitness facility in their own building, and on their own doorstep can be a life raft to keeping a regular work out schedule – if you focus their attention on it. Send an all building email promoting (and reminding residents about) your facility’s amenities. Create a residents incentive program – use the facility twice a week all month and get a free perk (like a water bottle, tee-shirt or discounted parking). Share clips, links and grabs of your on-demand classes via social media, your website and e-blasts. And don’t forget the benefits of old fashioned human engagement. Have your facility duty manager engage residents around the building and build interest.
Stress busting workout content for all
Researchers in London found that as little as 20 minutes of exercise a week can have stress busting benefits, but regular exercise can cut stress levels by as much as 40%. Intense exercise for an hour or more can lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, and even a little exercise can have an impact. But many people find self-motivated workouts difficult to stick with and lack the knowledge to put their own routine together day after day.
Work with your residents to show them the variety of on-demand classes, workouts and other content included in your FitnessOnDemand or other digital content portfolio. HIIT and specialty cardio classes can make a direct impact on stress and fatigue, getting the heart rate up, the blood pumping and releasing endorphins that give you the buzz of post-exercise come down.
For residents who like to work out with your facility’s cardio equipment versus a more class-like program, try introducing them to instructor-led solo sessions designed for use with stationary bikes, treadmills and ellipticals. They’re a lot more fun and habit forming than just cranking the pedals and listening to music. And residents don’t need to burn calories to fight stress. Yoga, Pilates and other stretch-based programs produce positive stress-busting benefits too. All are very effective at lowering your heart rate, encouraging body and mind mindfulness and controlling breathing, an anxiety control mechanism recommended by doctors.
Promote and every day habit
The more your residents workout and the more habitual their daily gym sessions become, the more benefit they’re going to feel. But variety is the key to keeping them coming back. Maybe they’re already hooked and following a program of digital instructor-led classes each day but for those who aren’t, most digital platforms provide some form of short-form exercises – easy bite-sized workouts that don’t require a big commitment from your residents.
Encourage users of your facility to try these. FOD Circuits360 is one example – a circuit of individual exercises that work different muscle groups and can be completed in sequence or as stand-alone exercises that take only a few minutes. Circuits run autonomously and refresh each day, so there’s always something fresh to try and work through when a resident coms back to your club, keeping them coming back, working out and more stress-free.