Since exercise has physical and mental health benefits, Senior Editor Phil Keren says it’s great to see the offerings of equipment and programs at the clubs appearing in Club + Resort Business’s listings of Top Ranked Fitness and Wellness Centers.
When in doubt, go for a run.
I’ve followed that motto for about three decades as I’ve laced up my tennis shoes and hit the pavement, trail or treadmill. I started going for runs to improve my physical health, but soon enjoyed other benefits of this routine. Whenever I return from a run, I feel energized, mentally sharper, and have a more positive outlook. For me, the mental benefits of running are equal to, if not greater, than the physical perks.
Scientific research suggests that exercise can play a role in improving mental health. An analysis published in an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry in 2022 found a link between physical activity and a reduced risk of depression. According to cnn.com — which reported on the JAMA Psychiatry analysis and other studies — adults who engaged in activities equivalent to 1.25 hours of brisk walking each week “had an 18% lower risk of depression compared with those who did not exercise.” The Mayo Clinic notes exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can improve a person’s sense of well-being.
Since exercise has physical and mental health benefits, it’s great to see the offerings of equipment and programs at the clubs appearing in Club + Resort Business’s listings of Top Ranked Fitness and Wellness Centers in this month’s issue. We assembled stories on the clubs that made up our Top 5: Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach Fla.; Bonita Bay Club, Bonita Springs, Fla.; The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, Savannah, Ga.; Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club, Palo Alto, Calif.; and BallenIsles Country Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Fitness directors at some of these clubs talked about the positive connection between exercise and mental health.
Michelle Doherty, Health and Wellness Director at BallenIsles Country Club, says she thinks exercise is beneficial to people on multiple levels.
“We believe movement is the medicine everyone needs to enhance their quality of life and overall well-being,” Doherty says.
Bonita Bay Club offers an initiative known as WAVE (Wellness and Vitality Enrichment). The three parts of this program are symbolized by a color-coded triangle, according to Tammy Mugavero, Director of Fitness.
“The three sides of the triangle … represent Movement (blue), Nutrition (green), and Mental/ Emotional Health (yellow) and provide a road map for all of our wellness programming,” Mugavero says. “In some way, all that we do fits somewhere in this triangle.”
Drew Howard, Membership Specialist at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, adds, “Whether working on your physical or mental health, members are able to find what fits their lifestyle needs.”
Clubs are providing many programs to meet the unique needs of their members. At Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club, General Manager Paul Koojoolian says his staff has a “family first” approach.
“We aim to accommodate everyone and enhance the quality of life for all our members,” Koojoolian says.
Addison Reserve Country Club CEO and GM Michael J. McCarthy says his staff continues “to expand our fitness and wellness programming to ensure the inclusion of all our members.”
Denise Saari, Membership/Marketing/Communications Manager at Addison Reserve, adds that trainers play an important role at the club.
“The professional trainer staff offers instruction to all our members with training series adapted to the needs of the individual,” Saari says.
Doherty also notes she and her staff are “very particular with equipment selections ensuring we have something for everyone. Fitness and wellness is not one size fits all.”
In addition to weight and cardio equipment, as well as fitness studios, clubs offer healthy food, personal training sessions, physical therapy services, and classes in pursuits such as yoga, tai chi and even ballroom dancing.
If you are a club general manager who is thinking about adding a fitness center at your site, I hope you find some ideas in these pages. Visit clubandresortbusiness.com for information about the clubs listed in our rankings. And if you’re looking for more inspiration, go for a run.
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