More Than a Gym: How Multi-Family Properties are Catering to Today’s Health and Wellness Trend

Written by Posted On Sunday, 20 January 2019 10:47

According to a new report, almost 80% of renters say they are actively working to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Yet, not all of them are strictly focusing on weight-loss or body transformation goals they set earlier in the month. Rather, the concept of health has now expanded to encompass general wellness, with an emphasis on both mental and physical clarity and balance.


As such, apartment and condo buildings that offer a gym and perhaps even a spa, are finding themselves behind the curve as other, more future-focused multi-family complexes are catering to this emphasis on personal wellness in a broader, more encompassing way. From yoga studios to meditation areas, there are myriad spaces cropping up in these units that are designed to help residents achieve their health goals.


A look at downtown development reveals that it isn’t just apartment complexes responding to this trend. In fact, almost 40 million Americans report practicing yoga now, as compared to only 20.4 million in 2012. This number, which has nearly doubled, reveals that while there will always be a place for fitness and physical development, there is a newfound focus on achieving an inner focus and calm, and when this is made possible from within the building that someone calls home, it could be a powerful pull toward attracting new tenants.


How can modern property managers respond? Today, we’re taking a deeper look at this trend to reveal what new avenues are proving most successful and how today’s multi-family complexes can respond to stay relevant.


Access to Health-Centered Amenities

Perhaps your complex doesn’t offer a Saturday farmer’s market in the parking lot, and that’s perfectly OK. Yet, the easier you can make it for your tenants to access a service along these lines, the more appealing your units will become.


Consider, for example, installing sidewalks that help tenants travel on foot to their nearby destinations. Not only does this promote fresh air and exercise, it is also an eco-friendly addition that appeals to renters looking to reduce their carbon footprint, go green and contribute to a more sustainable environment. The same concept holds true for ride-shares or carpooling communities you can help establish within your complex. Helping others connect and cultivate friendships can go a long way toward improving their mental health, as socialization is a key component.


On-Premise Community Gardens

Another way you can help promote full-body wellness at your complex is to create a community garden. This might be held outside your front doors, on your rooftop, in your open-air lobby or any other place that makes sense for your building. This effort does not have to be intensive and it doesn’t have to span acres. Instead, focus on a few varieties of easy-to-grow herbs and encourage tenants to help plant and harvest the crops as they need them.


This concept of an urban farm can also help renters find more local, sustainable sources of food for their meals, encourage them to shop small and motivate them to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Some larger-scale complexes are taking this idea a step further and creating communal kitchens, where full meals can be created from items grown within the urban farm. If this is a possibility, you can even encourage local chefs to come in and perform cooking demonstrations on-site to help show residents how to create a nutritious meal with fresh, readily-accessible ingredients.


All-Encompassing Wellness Education

Class A apartments have long offered gym memberships and free fitness classes for members. This is also a service provided by a range of apartments, including those in the luxury realm as well as ones offered at a discount through services such as Payless Apartments.


Yet, though this might not be a revolutionary concept, many complexes are expanding this service offering to include a more holistic approach to health. Their goal? To help tenants realize, from the day they move in, how to make the most of their local community in terms of wellness options.


For your unit, this might mean having wellness experts on staff who can help renters gain access to nearby amenities that can help fuel their journeys. Are there boutique fitness studios nearby? What about juice shops, local parks, recreational areas and more? Especially for those new to the area, this type of information can prove invaluable and help them become more integrated into the community. These experts can also recommend nearby hiking trails, walking paths, 5K routes and more to motivate tenants to get outside and explore the area on foot.


Some leaders in this space are also offering monetary incentives to their residents to encourage them to keep up their healthy lifestyles past the initial excitement. From gift cards to local spas to discount codes for meal delivery programs, there are myriad ways managers can stoke the fires and promote wellness as a year-round initiative.


Regular Community Engagement Events

As socialization is a major player in the total wellness sector, property managers can also consider getting tenants together on a regular basis for group activities and events centered on health, nutrition, mental wellness and more.


From potluck dinners to family game nights, there are myriad ways you can perform this step. The key is to make education and outreach a key component in the program so renters walk away with a renewed sense of community, as well as several skills they might not have cultivated otherwise. Teach them how to cook healthy and simple weeknight meals. Bring in a meditation expert to guide them in five-minute mental breaks they can take throughout their day. Small suggestions like this can go a long way in encouraging a more centered and equipped community, especially if they’re offered free of charge.


A Look Ahead at Multi-Family Wellness Initiatives

As more complexes around the country seek to appeal to their rentership’s focus on health and wellness, there appears to be a trend toward actively changing both external structures and logistical infrastructure to make these aims easier to achieve. There is also emerging a new standard, akin to the LEED certification or EnergyStar sticker, against which property managers can measure their efforts.


Known as the WELL Building Standard, this regulation considers how well a multi-family property responds to 10 key components of resident health including air, nourishment, water, light, water, comfort, community and more. Established in 2014, it provides a baseline for managers to follow as they seek to overhaul their existing gym-only offering and instead take a mind-body approach to tenant health.


In many ways, this is a trend that is here to stay, rather than a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. As such, those looking to succeed in this industry should take steps today to cater to their residents and ensure they’re being taken care of, from head to toes.

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