How Healthy is Your City?
by Monique Nelson on August 1st, 2013

ACSM American Fitness Index Logo
The 2013 American Fitness Index has recently been released - you can veiw the entire study / results here: http://americanfitnessindex.org

It is phenomenally interesting.
At a quick glance you can discover the Healthiest - and least Healthy - of the top 50 Metropolitan cities in the USA. If a quick glance isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, you can also download the full report with much more detailed findings. 

A very interesting feature is the "Strengths & Weaknesses" window that pops up when you click on one of the cities. For example, I found that city ranked #1 for health, had "fewer swimming pools per capita" as one of their weaknesses. This seems like a golden opportunity for pool builders to market towards! On the other hand, the 42nd and 43rd (out of 50) ranked had "more swimming pools per capita." This indicates a need for aquatics professionals in those areas to hit the drawing boards and come up with interesting new programs to facilitate health in a fun and exciting new way.

The website's blog and resource sections are a veritable wealth of information, and you could easily spend hours devouring the content if you were so inclined. 
ACSM Community Action Guide
My favorite part, however, is their Community Action Guide.

It may be dated for 2009, but the topics covered are evergreen and enlightening.  (The material shared makes me so motivated that it has actually elevated my speech patterns!)

So far, I have only had the luxury of skimming the content, but I plan on going through it again and again. Here are a few of the tidbits I have picked out so far:
  • There is strength in numbers - not to mention variety! - so try forming a coalition to accomplish the goals your community has set forth. This coalition might include local businesses (aquatic centers? pool suppliers?), notable "figureheads" (athletes?), community professionals (swim coaches? gym teachers?) and even government agencies (Parks & Rec departments?)
  • Celebrate success! You would be hard pressed to find a better motivator than success. If you start with baby steps in all your programs, you should have no trouble coming out on top. Share with your community every time a finish line is crossed and you will be surprised at how quickly others will want to join in the adventure, whatever it may be!
    • added suggestion - use social media to your best advantage! Share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube and your community will help you pass along the good news!
  • Understand the difference between your WANTS and NEEDS. Aiming to satisfy all your community's desires is not a bad thing, but planning the lion's share of the project to meet the needs of community will have stronger long-term results.
  • "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead
What are your thoughts? How is your community getting involved to create healthy lifestyle habits? Where does the Pool Industry fit in? Please, leave your thoughts and comments in the section below!
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Posted in General Information    Tagged with pool builders, aquatics professionals, swimming pools, pool industry


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