Dan Buettner, New York Times bestselling author and National Geographic Fellow, has spent much of his career studying the locations in the world where people live the longest, happiest, and healthiest lives. In 2008, he published The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. This book outlined the nine common attributes of these “Blue Zones.”
The health club industry is uniquely positioned to educate and demonstrate these Blue Zone concepts to help their members live longer, happier, healthier lives. The nine common attributes of the Blue Zones are as follows: move naturally, sense of purpose, downshift to reduce stress, eat until you are 80% full, plant slant nutrition, wine at 5 with friends, right tribe, loved ones first, and belonging to a group. A full description of each of these attributes can be found atwww.bluezones.com.
I will touch on some of these concepts that could be incorporated into the health club environment.
The concept of natural movement is to design your environment so that movement comes naturally rather than being forced. In the health club atmosphere, this could be accomplished by designing group classes and spaces that naturally draw people in without them feeling like they “have to go workout.” Examples might be group dance classes or fun competitions for all ages either on a court, in the pool, or the CrossFit box.