New Multifamily Fitness Models Flex Through the Pandemic

Posted By: David Scanzon Industry Trends , WMFHA Updates ,

The continuing COVID-sensitive environment has brought an avalanche of changes for communities – the most prominent of which focus on community health and fitness. During the last 18 months, fitness and wellness options can be considered a necessary remedy to heightened stress levels, and a vital sanctuary from ever-changing restrictions.

For multifamily communities, the challenge is two-fold and new. Creative solutions are emerging that support “safer at home” recommendations while making public spaces safer to share. How are leading communities keeping residents engaged and socially connected (building and supporting the true essence of community when we need it most), while ensuring safe distancing and sanitization standards? A combination of shared virtual programming, controlled access to centralized fitness centers, and innovative distributed options are a good start.

Common COVID-Induced Changes

Virtual fitness platforms have become sought after standards in multifamily environments, as properties are resourcefully extending their programming and equipment options beyond the walls of the central fitness center.

Advantageous, community-wide purchase programs for fitness equipment, massage chairs, and active recreation options are being engineered in some locations. This allows residents to enjoy access to fitness amenities individually or collectively, and preserves the property's competitive advantage of being able to provide community-wide fitness amenities that are in demand.

Starting with spacing considerations, many leading properties with fitness facilities have reorganized to create individual workout spaces and schedules that put safety first. Beyond alternating equipment usage, creating appointment time slots, and sanitizing continuously, hybrid fitness options are emerging as many residents remain cautious around public space sharing.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Strains on capacity due to social distancing have necessitated a creative resurgence in the use of unconventional spaces for fitness and recreation. Facilities with larger quantities of equipment have the option of repurposing under utilized spaces (i.e. wide hallways, corners of lounge spaces, rooftops, or even unleased units that can act as personalized workout rooms) and dividing some of the fitness assets into smaller groupings across the property so that everything isn’t in one, centralized area.

Outdoor spaces are also popular as the new location for all-weather fitness equipment, where social distancing isn’t as much of an issue. 

Finding the Balance

Staying connected is such a defining value for communities - sharing both physical and virtual options for the shared activities that community's value, including fitness. Those who have become adept at group Zoom discussions and virtual events are starting to sprinkle in person options back in the mix.

A variety of imaginative fitness and wellness solutions have emerged over the past year, creating a healthy balance between shared-space communal safety and individual preferences. Arguably, there’s no greater time to put an emphasis on fitness with the immunity boosting, physical, and mental benefits that we all know come along with it. The challenge in keeping fitness priorities and access high while keeping public safety concerns (and virus transmission rates) low, is generating imaginative new ideas. Multifamily communities are implementing such ideas demonstrate their commitment to individual health and wellness while keeping spirits up and residents confident in their choice of where and how to live.


David Scanzon is Commercial Fitness Design Consultant and Advanced Exercise.