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How Health Club Operators Can Incorporate Nature into the Club Environment

By: Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter

Health club owners have many options when it comes to designing their club’s interior. However, when designing a club environment, remember that the main product clubs provide is exercise. Different design and décor trends are great, but they do not always help a club attract more members by providing an environment that makes people receptive to exercise. Club operators should use design assets to help increase energy and motivation to exercise. One of those components is to incorporate nature in the design.

Studies show that people feel less pain and discomfort when they are in a nature setting. Having a greater connection to nature can result in:

  • a more positive mood,
  • a greater acceptance of self,
  • more social integration.

Creating a “green” club with nature as part of the décor and using environmentally friendly materials and mechanical systems (such as recyclable materials made with fewer chemicals, water-saving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems) are assets to a club’s on-going marketing message to club members.

Club owners can incorporate nature into a club’s environment in a variety of ways:

1. Plants. Certain plants help clean and purify the air. Whether your club is old or new, it harbors unhealthy toxins, including formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide found in emissions from paint, plastics, carpet, cleaning solutions and building materials. This problem is amplified in clubs because people who exercise breath in more air. Plants that work well in clubs include:

  • ferns,
  • bamboo palms,
  • orchids,
  • pothos, and
  • Dracaena

2. Materials. Natural materials, such as wood, stone and granite, can add strength and warmth.

3. Water walls, fireplaces and fans. These earth elements add exciting, natural aspects to a space.

4. Finishes. Certain finishes can look (and feel) natural. Natural finishes can include laminates, ceramic tile, vinyl tile, sport flooring and wall coverings. All of these items are available in natural-looking varieties, and many are manufactured with recycled and less toxic materials.

5. Lighting. Research shows that full-spectrum lighting is best for energy and productivity. Full-spectrum lighting covers all of the wavelengths that are useful to humans. Energy-efficient, full-spectrum daylight bulbs are widely available and are best used for exercise areas. Softer lighting in locker rooms and group exercise and yoga rooms can be soothing and calming. Softer lighting in lobby areas is more welcoming.

6. Artwork. Incorporate photographic scenes of nature and people being active. Use larger graphics on walls.

Many variables go into a successful club. However, taking advantage of nature and natural elements can help club owners better position their clubs as more user-friendly environments, which will have a favorable effect on sales and retention.

As published on clubindustry.com, June 2015.