Here’s how some apartment communities are changing to help residents live their healthiest lives:
Evolving the gym: Gyms have been a staple amenity in apartment communities for years, acting as the standard for a community’s wellness offerings. But to incorporate the holistic type of wellness now sought by residents, gyms are evolving to offer more variety in fitness.
Apartment community gyms now carry brand-name equipment such as Express and Hydrorider that encourage an active lifestyle through a social support system. Communities are also adding versatile yoga rooms to their gyms — quiet spaces that allow users to meditate, stretch or take a personal training class. The rooms encourage residents to pursue physical activity in whatever way they prefer, supporting wellness in any shape it takes in a resident’s lifestyle.
Making healthful eating accessible: Community gardens are not a new concept, but today we’re seeing apartments take access to healthful food a step further. Communities are highlighting their proximity to farmers markets or creating partnerships with fruit stands to encourage healthful eating for all residents.
Some even offer cooking demos from local chefs to teach residents ways to incorporate more healthful meals into their routine. By providing convenient access to healthful food, apartment communities are helping make nutrition a more workable part of residents’ holistic wellness.
Bringing back green spaces: Developers once thought of green spaces as a waste — unused land that meant more landscaping to maintain. But a focus on holistic wellness has brought value back to these spaces. Studies have shown that spending time in green spaces has health benefits, including lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, residents have come to value access to the outdoors in their daily lives, and now green space is a sought-after feature in apartment communities. Even some high-rise apartment buildings create green spaces on rooftops to give residents an outdoor oasis in the city. Access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities are also valued by apartment developers, as their residents now view spending time outdoors as a crucial part of wellness.
Including subtle changes: For wellness to be truly holistic, it needs to reach every part of your life. State-of-the-art gyms are great, but physical fitness is just one aspect of wellness. Apartment communities are considering more subtle areas of wellness and are thinking creatively about different ways to improve residents’ lives.
For example, communities in loud areas are including sound barriers and soundproofing to help residents get a good night’s sleep. Developers are installing more windows to incorporate natural light in buildings, because it’s shown to improve your mood. Apartment communities are even improving air and water quality beyond the required standards to ensure that they aren’t just adequate but also beneficial for the wellness of their residents. These actions make life better, sometimes without residents even realizing it, because wellness is about living and feeling well in every facet of your life.
If you’re in the market for an apartment and want one that focuses on holistic wellness, there are a number of things you can look out for. Certifications like Fitwel and the WELL Building Standard are awarded to apartments that offer amenities and initiatives that promote wellness, so taking a look at buildings with these certifications is a great start.
When visiting a potential apartment, keep an eye out for the more subtle features that promote wellness. Sure, a flashy gym is great, but a community that really cares about your holistic wellness will also invest in more understated initiatives that ensure wellness in all aspects of life.
Robert Pinnegar is president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, headquartered in Arlington, Va.