More than just technology is responsible for the Institute’s 92 percent retention rate. “Given our demographic, ease of use [and] consistency in ‘look/feel’ is very important,” Black explains. For that reason, all cardio and strength equipment in the Health & Fitness Institute is provided by Life Fitness. Mind/body fitness is also a priority; the facility’s layout includes two studios in addition to the general fitness area. Independent lighting and climate control help create custom environments for aerobics, meditation, tai chi, yoga, Feldenkrais and other mind/body activities. The Health & Fitness Institute has three pools: a cool-water lap pool designed to accommodate larger aquatic classes, a warm-water therapy pool and an oversized Jacuzzi. Locker rooms are equipped with Digi Lock technology, and members have access to a wide selection of massage therapy and body work techniques. The Institute’s 160-seat auditorium and six conference rooms have teleconferencing and AVA equipment for lectures, workshops and seminars. “The building is designed to facilitate the integration of services to captivate the community from a ‘cradle to grave’ and ‘in sickness and health’ [perspective],” says Black. “[It's] a one-stop-shop.”
Black says he hopes the Health & Fitness Institute becomes “a center for excellence in integrated lifestyle medicine.” Eventually the Institute will become a site to conduct research and establish a foundation to fund research on lifestyle change. “We will have an educational branch [to]deliver leading-edge technology and treatment information to the community and worldwide,” Black says. The Institute is currently establishing strategic alliances with manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies to serve as a beta site and laboratory for future products. Also, using equipment and methods designed by Life Fitness specifically for special populations, Black says the Institute plans to design and provide programs for local fire and police personnel, as well as forpublic schools in the Stamford area. With clear goals and an impressive beginning, the Health & Fitness Institute is well on its way to providing at-risk members with technology, education and mind/body fitness.
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