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A Glimpse Into European Health. Part 4

by Daniel on October 16th, 2012

Although this facility only serves about 500 members, it is fully equipped with the latest cardio equipment, strength-training machines and group exercise classes. Spa services are not as popular in this facility as in other cities, simply because it is not feasible to build pools and hot tubs into clubs in Venice, says Marco Bellot, front-desk customer service. Fitness Point offers a few beauty services to members: massages by appointment and a whole-body solarium.

Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, I found one fitness facility near the city’s center. It seemed, though, that city residents get their exercise in other ways. Driving is discouraged and, since the city is fairly small and flat, bicycling is the most common means of transportation. More than half a million bicycles can be found in Amsterdam, and there are more cyclists on the streets than drivers.2 While bicycle lanes are widely available in the city, only pedestrians actually use the lanes, and cyclists use the car lanes. The government is so supportive of bicycling that it offers residents ride-sharing programs, where residents may freely use one of the many government-sponsored bikes that are left unlocked around the city.

Although biking is the main mode of transport, walking is also common. One local resident informed me that, since the city is so small, it only takes about 25 minutes to get from one side to the other. This type of everyday activity may help to keep the residents of Amsterdam in shape.

Each city that I visited differs slightly in its residents’ health and fitness priorities and interests, which, in turn, influences the types of programs and services that local health clubs offer. Also impacting club usage are cultural influences and transportation issues.

By staying aware of what goes on in other fitness facilities, including those in international markets, you can keep your own club current and profitable.

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