Outdoor Fitness: Trend Alert


Lifestyle preferences have dramatically shifted over the last decade. Multi-family housing owners and property managers are being faced with creating communities that offer a list of amenities that is now longer than in the past. Now, more than ever, a typical prospect not only seeks out, but expects a lifestyle that dictates properties to keep up with the Joneses with its offerings. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, Millennials rank the following as the most desirable amenities: rooftop decks, outdoor kitchens, fitness centers, bike stations, yoga studios, and updated package centers.

Health and wellness related amenities are in demand with all ages, from Baby Boomers to Millennials. These include fitness classes, dog park trails, indoor and outdoor fitness facilities. While we can visualize indoor fitness, outdoor fitness is on the rise.

Studies are revealing that outdoor fitness offer great advantages to a community:

Enhanced experience – being physically active while outdoors is enhanced by natural light and fresh air. Combining these components furthers the reduction of stress and encourages healthy behaviors.

Eco-Friendly – Outdoor fitness stations do not require electricity, are low maintenance and require minimal attention by property management staff. Materials used (depending on manufacturer) are recyclable and offer a sustainable solution.

Social Component – Outdoor fitness promotes socialization and strengthens community within a property campus. All age groups benefit from this type of interaction.

Small Footprint – While there are a range of outdoor fitness options available, fitness stations can be easily implemented in a small space as well. This is beneficial to complexes that are doing updates versus new build projects.

Differentiator – This option can serve as a differentiator for prospects and can set a property apart from others on the “A” list. It can enhance opportunities to optimize revenue as well by providing that extra amenity.

Several studies have shown additional benefits to outdoor vs. indoor exercise. This includes mental wellbeing, physiological health, social engagement and enjoying a more natural setting. Additionally, evidence shows that outdoor exercise can improve adherence rates to a fitness regime overall. Reports from participants include feeling more revitalized, experiencing positive engagement, decrease in tension and an overall increased level of satisfaction.

As mentioned, outdoor fitness can serve a multi-generational function and can be appropriate for communities tailored to all ages. For example, baby boomers may perhaps be at a point where they have lost a spouse, are empty nesters or simply away from their social circle and family. That group welcomes the ability to stay active and couple it with a social component. Millennials are deferring marriage longer and having children at an older age compare to other generations in the past. This demographic subscribes to a “live-work-play” philosophy that includes fitness options.

Outdoor fitness stations can readily be incorporated into personal training sessions. Whether individual or class offerings, a trainer can easily adapt a program within this setting to maximize the amenity. Components can be put into pods if there is a larger area or pockets of space available. For more compact areas, there are more “all inclusive” units that are multi-purpose.

Fitness trends are here to stay! This is a great way to up your amenity game, repurpose an area to optimize your community and reap the rewards of happy tenants and property owners.

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