The fitness and wellness industry is growing exponentially. According to research by Statista, there are almost 60 million fitness club members in Europe alone. Between 2020 and 2024, the sector could reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 7%, and by the end of the forecast period, the market will have ballooned to a staggering $96 billion.
More people are investing in their health. Whether they want to lose weight, improve their well-being, or lower stress levels, they want to feel good about themselves – especially after the pressures brought on by the pandemic. But, despite the rush on memberships, consumers these days are discerning.
They have specific ideas about what they want from their gyms and clubs. This is largely driven by the holistic fitness and wellness trend, where consumers are taking a more integrated approach to their health. For this reason, businesses should consider investing in new technologies to respond to this demand. One such example is hydrotherapy facilities, which are an outstanding value-added facility for clubs.
1. Saunas can improve cardiovascular profile
Not everyone who visits gyms is in optimal health: 8% of sports club members are already between 55 years old and above. These individuals are more likely to have chronic illnesses, such as poor cardiovascular function, which increases their risk of stroke and heart disease. In fact, these conditions can be the primary reason they joined the club in the first place.
Studies, such as that by Westmead Institute for Medical Research, show that moderate exercise can decrease the odds of cardiovascular illness. However, for some – particularly those with chronic health complaints – this isn’t an option. An alternative is saunas. A 25-minute sauna session can temporarily raise blood pressure and heart rate to a level equivalent to moderate exercise.
Moreover, in the long term, it could drive blood pressure down as it may widen blood vessels. A 2015 study found that men who did frequent sauna sessions decreased their overall mortality from heart disease. To illustrate, those who visited at least twice a week reduced their risk by 22%. The percentage rose to over 50% for men who enjoyed a sauna not less than 4 times in 7 days.
Furthermore, spending just 11 minutes inside the sauna room per session could decrease sudden cardiac death by as much as 7%. Simply put, a sauna can be an excellent alternative for people who have limited ability to participate in physical exercise. This makes the equipment a valuable add-on service for any fitness and wellness club.
2. Hydrotherapy pools can speed up recovery
After a workout or physical activity comes recovery. Sometimes, this can last for a couple of days. Hydrotherapy pools can help reduce that period. People that do vigorous exercise often feel physical pain for two reasons:
- Lactic buildup, which causes the muscles to contract and become sore; and
- Micro-tears that help tone the muscles, but also result in soreness.
By taking a dip in a warm pool for at least 30 minutes, it is possible to expand the blood vessels and deliver the much-needed oxygen and nutrients to the damaged site. In the process, muscles heal more quickly. The heat also reduces spasms.
Members can enjoy almost similar benefits if they sit down in a Jacuzzi, as the intense water pressure massages muscles and releases tension. A bath with Epsom salt, meanwhile, increases buoyancy and avoids causing more injuries into the affected areas.
3. Cold showers can improve endurance and fitness performance
Cold baths, Vichy showers and even ice cabins can do wonders for the body despite the initial chill. They can enhance both fitness endurance and performance in various ways:
- Cold showers can relieve muscle soreness much faster. This is especially true with Vichy showers whose multi-angled water pressure stimulates the lymphatic system. As a result, the body can get rid of toxins and by-products that may hamper a speedy recovery.
- Bathing in cold water reduces the risk of infection. In a study by the Harvard Business Review in 2018, those who took cold baths for at least 30 seconds called in sick 29% less often than those who didn’t. Although the reason for this is unclear, a theory suggests that cold water stimulates brown adipocytes. These cells stimulate thermogenesis, or in layman’s terms, generate energy and burn calories. Others suggest that its ability to stimulate the lymphatic system may be the reason. This system is partly responsible for the creation of white blood cells, which help reduce infection.
These benefits speak to fitness enthusiasts and general leisure customers alike. As the well-being movement gains pace, facilities like these create a unique offering for prospective clients.
As this overview demonstrates, hydrotherapy facilities have numerous benefits for those looking to enhance their overall well-being. Hydrotherapy is the perfect compliment to a well-equipped gym and also serves to attract members that wouldn’t otherwise be gym-goers. Considering the current wellness phenomenon, they undoubtedly add significant value to a fitness and wellness club’s offering.
Furthermore, as with other wellness spaces, these facilities can be customised according to the needs of each club to become one of its distinctive characteristics. Then, it’s down to marketers to ensure these benefits and unique features are communicated clearly to customers.