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Creating Immersive Experiences at Your Fitness Facility

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Creating Immersive Experiences at Your Fitness Facility

According to Fabiano, new clubs are allocating between 600 to 2,000 square feet to recovery spaces.

West Wood Clubs, which has six locations in Dublin, Ireland, recently opened a new recovery room with heated hydrotherapy massage and cryotherapy beds at its Sandymount location. At the Clontarf Club, the company gutted its existing spa to build a bigger space that includes two giant Jacuzzis, a larger sauna and steam room, an ice room, a salt room, heated loungers, and a cold plunge pool.

“Members absolutely love the new spa area, and usage is out the door,” says Karen Polley, the managing director at West Wood Clubs.

Longevity Club created a dedicated stretching and recovery area, and also now offers acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and functional medicine in-house.

“We built our brand on hospitality, where people feel cared for,” says Jennie Brooks, the owner/president of the Longevity Club. “So, we offer convenience in as many ways as we can, including a variety of curated services that we know members appreciate having under one roof.”

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Healthworks Fitness Clubs in the Boston area debuted the Restore Spa after refurbishing its 19,000-square-foot flagship facility in Cambridge. It features a cold plunge pool, infrared sauna, eucalyptus steam room, whirlpool, spa showers, and restorative massage services.

“Recovery and longevity technology and services are just as important as cardio and strength,” observes Mark Harrington, the president of Healthworks.

Because recovery also encompasses mental health, some clubs are incorporating meditation pods, quiet rooms, and spaces with a strong connection to nature to help members release stress and relax.

Accentuating Ambiance

In addition to recovery spaces, locker rooms represent a haven and are a frequent target for upgrades.

“Members now expect more spacious grooming areas, increased privacy, and larger showers, and upscale clubs are offering heated shower floors, full-body dryers, and private dressing niches,” Fabiano says.

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Carter adds that unisex bathrooms with private showers are becoming more common among studios and smaller clubs.

Equally as important are club lobbies and reception areas, which today are viewed as places to showcase the brand and linger.

“Lobbies have become much more inviting and less intimidating,” Carter reports. “Rather than offering sightlines to a mass of exercise machines, these areas are being designed to make a great first impression that is welcoming to both new and existing members.”

West Wood also unveiled a new reception and café area in Clontarf, which Polley describes as “a bright, beautiful, and friendly hub of the club.” Healthworks likewise designed a new reception area and lounge where members can relax and socialize.

At the Longevity Club, Brooks focuses on sensory appeal and making a stellar first impression when members enter not only the reception area, but also each floor of the multi-story facility.

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“Taste has a big effect on memory, so we offer amenity bars with complimentary mints, fruit, tea, and coffee at the entrance and exit of each floor so that members come in and leave with a lasting pleasant impression,” she explains.

Co-working spaces have been limited to large, multipurpose facilities to date, but some clubs are placing communal tables with charging stations in the lobby as a convenience for members.

“The integration of co-working areas reflects a broader, more holistic approach to member services, acknowledging evolving lifestyle needs that blend work, fitness, and wellness,” Fabiano observes.

Lighting, colors, and flooring all contribute to fostering a custom environment that differentiates brands, attracts customers, and encourages repeat visits.

“There’s a trend toward creating visually stunning and immersive environments through thoughtful lighting, color schemes, and overall design as consumers increasingly expect higher quality in fitness facilities,” Januszek says.

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Return on Reinvestment

Design upgrades and remodels are an ongoing cost of stimulating growth amid competition.

“We are always busy, and the facilities get old and tired every few years,” Polley says. “It’s a constant cycle of reinvestment, which is essential to meeting the evolving needs of our members and keeping us ahead of the curve.”

Januszek acknowledges the worth of engaging spaces. “By offering a comprehensive experience that goes beyond traditional workouts, clubs give members more reasons to value their membership and return.”

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How astronauts exercise to stay fit and healthy in space

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How astronauts exercise to stay fit and healthy in space

Space, the final frontier…for human exercise and fitness? That might not be the catchphrase you’re used to, but it’s increasingly relevant as astronauts set sights on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 

A pressing question hangs in the air (or rather, the vacuum of space): How do we keep astronauts healthy and strong in the face of microgravity’s bone and muscle-weakening effects?

Thankfully, the International Space Station (ISS) has become a unique laboratory for research in this area. And what they’re learning isn’t just helping astronauts; it could revolutionize how we approach fitness right here on Earth.

Why astronauts need to exercise

Before we strap on our space boots and hit the cosmic gym, let’s understand the challenge. On Earth, gravity constantly provides resistance, keeping our bones and muscles strong. 

But in space, that resistance vanishes. The result? Bones become brittle, muscles atrophy, and astronauts risk returning to Earth weaker than when they left.

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The solution is exercise, but not the usual jog around the block. In space, exercise equipment has advanced from simple elastic bands to sophisticated machines that simulate weightlifting and cardio in a weightless environment.

ARED: Space station’s weightlifting wonder

One such marvel is the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), the ISS’s very own weight room. Using a clever piston and flywheel system, ARED simulates the resistance of lifting weights on Earth.

And the benefits are clear. Research shows that preflight training with ARED improves astronauts’ performance in space, similar to how athletes train for competition. 

Results have shown that preflight exercise training improves an individual’s performance while on the space station just as pre-season training helps athletes in later competition.

CEVIS: Pedaling astronaut exercise

Next, we have CEVIS, the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System. This high-tech stationary bike uses friction and resistance to provide astronauts with a challenging cardio workout. It’s like a Peloton for the cosmos.

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However, data from CEVIS has also raised several questions. It suggests that even with current exercise countermeasures, up to 17% of astronauts could still experience muscle, bone, and heart health issues on future missions. 

The researchers note that this highlights the need to further refine current regimens, add other interventions, or enhance conditioning preflight.

This revelation emphasizes the ongoing need for innovation and improvement in astronaut fitness regimes.

Sprint: High-intensity revolution

In the early days of space exploration, astronauts spent hours each week on low-intensity exercise, with disappointing results. 

Despite spending up to 10 hours per week exercising, astronauts continued to lose muscle mass and bone density.

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Then came a game-changer: the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint). This study showed that short, high-intensity workouts were just as effective as longer, low-intensity ones. 

The bonus? Less wear and tear on the equipment and more time for astronauts to focus on their mission.

Measuring the microgravity impact

To understand the true impact of space on the body, scientists have delved into the molecular level. The VO2max investigation revealed that long-duration spaceflight significantly decreases astronauts’ aerobic capacity. 

These results have important implications for future long-duration space missions, adding to the evidence that current countermeasures may not be adequate.

Meanwhile, the Muscle Biopsy study identified a potential biomarker for muscle health. The findings suggest that current exercise protocols are effective in preventing muscle de-conditioning.

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They also support improvements in countermeasures to protect crew health and performance on future deep space exploration missions.

Future of astronaut exercise

As we plan for longer missions to the Moon and Mars, astronaut fitness remains a top priority. Research continues to refine the ideal combination of diet, exercise, and medication to keep astronauts healthy in space and upon their return to Earth.

While current exercise programs appear to moderate changes in musculoskeletal systems, individual results vary. 

In addition, current regimens cannot directly transfer to longer exploration missions due to space constraints, environmental issues such as removal of heat and moisture, device maintenance and repair needs, and the challenges of finding time for exercise and avoiding interference with the work of other crew members.

But the benefits extend beyond the cosmos. The lessons learned from astronaut fitness research could help people on Earth who suffer from bone and muscle loss due to aging, illness, or sedentary lifestyles.

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Space fitness is Earth fitness

So, while astronauts are pushing the boundaries of human fitness in the extreme environment of space, their efforts are benefiting us all. 

The next time you hit the gym, remember that the exercises you’re doing might have been inspired by research conducted hundreds of miles above your head.

Whether you’re an astronaut preparing for a mission to Mars or a couch potato looking to get in shape, the message is clear: Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy body, no matter where you are in the universe.

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Best Rowing Machines of 2024 – CNET

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Best Rowing Machines of 2024 – CNET

When using a rowing machine, it’s key to practice good form if you want to get the most out of the workout. It’s helpful to have a rowing instructor or trainer familiar with the machine to teach you the correct way to row.

Catch, Drive, Recovery: It’s important to learn the four key steps to rowing. These are the catch, drive, finish and recovery. Peloton rowing instructor, Alex Karwoski says your starting position should look like this: “Starting from the fully compressed position — your arms should be outstretched, body pivoted forward at a slight angle, and knees close to your chest.” From here you want to push with the legs to drive the seat and handle away from the screen. Karwoski explains, “for the first third to half of the drive, our legs are doing the majority of the work while our arms and body are braced and holding the pressure.” Then, as the shins come to about 45 degrees to the floor, the body swing starts. He says the key to the body swing is to think about “adding momentum” to the handle. The legs started moving the internal flywheel, and this is where the legs and body can work in conjunction to further accelerate the flywheel. “Finally, our arms get involved right at the end of the stroke and we pull the handle all the way into the chest,” he says. Once all of that is completed, you start the recovery phase of the stroke, which is just the opposite and the arms move away from the body first, followed by the body pivoting forward, and the legs compress to return to the catch.

Don’t misuse the drag factor: The drag factor is usually featured as a dampener handle on a traditional rower. On more modern rowers, such as some of the ones mentioned on this list, it’s included within the software. “Most people assume that moving this from, for example, the three to the 10 makes the machine harder, but what is really does is simply increase the rate at which the flywheel slows down and thereby causes the stroke to feel heavier because now it is as if you are rowing through molasses rather than water,” explains Karwoski. In other words, avoid mistaking the “drag factor” for “speed level” or “intensity.”

Know what the main measurement is: The main unit being measured when you row is output. Karwoski explains that when you row, each stroke takes a certain amount of time so the work being measured is the force applied to move the flywheel. He says, “from the output, we can derive the split, which is given in terms of time it would take to row 500 meters at your given output and distance.” Another metric to look at is the stroke rate, which is the number of strokes you will take, if you hold your current rhythm, in a minute. ”I encourage people to focus on output because that is the big number usually right in the middle of the screen,” Karwoski said. But keep in mind that different rowing machines have different metrics that are highlighted, but ultimately it’s about how much force you can apply through the drive to move the flywheel.

Rowing precautions: As with any form of exercise, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor if you have health concerns or are pregnant. “If you are returning from an injury — and that injury doesn’t prohibit you from sitting on a rowing machine — the rowing motion can be a gentler way to restart your cardiovascular fitness,” said Peloton rowing instructor Katie Wang. This is a good way to get the benefits of a cardio workout while caring for your joints and knees.

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Gut health: Exercise, fermented food, sleep are crucial steps to strengthen your microbiota

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Gut health: Exercise, fermented food, sleep are crucial steps to strengthen your microbiota
Gut health: There is an intricate relationship between gut health and overall health. Gut health may be involved in various mental health, gastrointestinal, and neurological disorders. Simple alterations in diet and lifestyle can strengthen your gut microbes, helping you live a healthy life and prevent many diseases.
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