It’s that time again — the time when the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) publishes its annual American Fitness Index (AFI) Data Report. Funded by The Anthem Foundation, the AFI Data Report ranks the country’s 50 most prominent metro areas in terms of fitness, using such health and community indicators as variety of outdoor exercise options and rates of smoking, obesity, and diabetes. In this latest report, the eighth annual, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, and San Diego scored as the top three fittest cities in the United States.
If you own or manage a fitness facility or sports center in one of these cities, congratulations. And congratulations to denizens of San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver, Portland (Oregon), Seattle, Boston, and San Jose, the other cities that scored in the top ten.
Whether your facility operates in a place on that prestigious list or not, the report’s publication offers an opportunity to consider how you might use it to drum up business. Do you run a yoga studio, gym, baseball center, ice rink, or other similar facility in Washington, D.C.? If so, create a new advertising campaign that shouts out your pride at living in the country’s fittest city. Light a fire under potential new members by inviting them — through posters, public transportation advertisements, emails, and social media blasts — to get on board and be a part of the fittest city movement. Or host a street fair or other kind of festival to celebrate the Number One designation, being sure to offer non-members plenty of chances to sign up for classes and memberships.
If you’re not in D.C. but your city did make the top ten, make that known to members and non-members. Don’t assume that anyone has heard the news — it’s unlikely that word has reached folks not in the fitness industry. This is a good thing, as it puts you in a position to educate your clientele (and potential clientele), using the information to motivate them to help improve your city’s ranking. Send a positive message: We’re good, but we could be better.
And if your facility is in Oklahoma City, Memphis, or Indianapolis, the three cities that scored lowest on all indicators? Take heart. You too are presented with a great opportunity to educate current and future members about the report’s existence, its meaning, and the fact that your city can work hard to land a higher place on the list next year or the year after. Adopt a serious tone and let people know there’s hope. Use the results of the report as a platform for encouraging more exercise among individuals, better local policies that might lead to a decrease in diseases related to sedentary behavior and an increase in exercise venues and options, and greater community support for health and fitness. Your clientele will become better educated and possibly more motivated, and your facility will get its name out there — and attached to a great message, to boot. Check out the AFI report, get your marketing people working on an effective campaign, and start spreading the word today.