OK, so I know it doesn’t feel like it, especially to those of us on the East Coast who are still walking around in our puffy jackets and fur-lined boots, but it is almost swimsuit season. Already. I know, it’s been months of pasta and red wine and candy (though pasta has essential carbs and red wine has antioxidants and you can take the peanut butter M&Ms out of my cold, dead hands), but according to the calendar, it’s technically spring, which means summer is right around the corner. Time to shape up! (Of course, we know that there are other, more important reasons reasons to get healthy than being able to fit in a bathing suit, like the ability to live longer, a better quality of life, fewer health problems, etc.)
And your apartment community is a great place to start promoting healthy choices, providing you’re not forcing your residents to join in if they’re not into it. What, if any, health initiatives do you have going at your apartment community?
Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling.
Host a Biggest Loser competition. Have interested residents—and even staff members—sign up for a “Biggest Loser” competition. You can have weekly weigh ins (or go by the honor system to encourage people who might be shy about listing their weight publicly), and after a set amount of time, whoever lost the most can win a prize.
Have gym classes. You have that fancy gym—use it. There are all sort of classes you can offer: yoga, dance classes, some gyms even offer treadmill classes. It doesn’t even have to be that expensive for you to staff—you can hire someone to lead a class once a week, and if you get a ton of resident interest you can look into increasing it. Bonus points if the instructor dresses up like Richard Simmons.
Use social media. Set up private group on Facebook where residents can compare diet strategies and offer support for each other. Make sure to have someone monitor the page so it remains a positive experience for everyone. Or set up a health-themed pinboard on Pinterest with recipes, work out tips, etc.
Offer healthy cooking demonstrations. Finally, something to do in that demo kitchen in the clubhouse! Have someone have a cooking demonstration or class for residents where healthy items are being cooked, or where there are healthy substitutions being used. So not only do residents get free food, but they don’t have to cook that night. Um, sign me up!
Form a running team. There are constantly different 5ks going on, so chances are that there is one in your neighborhood. You can form a team in your community and all run together in the race (this might even include some fundraising for a charity, so another opportunity to do some good). You can also do training runs together leading up to the race, which is a great way to get some exercise and for residents to get to know each other.
Encourage community gardens. If you have the space for residents to have their own gardening areas, say, on the roof, or around the property, definitely encourage your residents to grow their own vegetables. You could even have a community “farmers’ market” where residents can share the “fruits” of their labor with other residents. Get it? Fruits? Bueller? Whatever, you guys.
What else can property managers do to encourage healthy habits at apartment communities? Does your community have any initiatives in place already?
-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor