Pool gym a moral stand

The Hutt News - - YOUR VIEWS -

I was ap­palled to read ( Hutt News, May 12) the ob­jec­tions of the lo­cal gyms to the coun­cils plan to in­cor­po­rate a fit­ness suite into the Huia pool re­de­vel­op­ment. Their dire warn­ing of ‘‘un­wise moral sig­nals’’ seems rather hyp­o­crit­i­cal in the cir­cum­stances.

The Hutt faces in­creas­ing chal­lenges of age­ing and obe­sity and needs to pro­vide as much sup­port to healthy life­styles and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as pos­si­ble. This is fully in keep­ing with the Hutt City Coun­cil vi­sion of mak­ing the Hutt a great place to live, work and play.

When it seems like there is a new take­away shop open­ing up ev­ery other week, and elec­tive surgery rates are on the rise, there is a burning need for en­trylevel and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion-fo­cused ex­er­cise fa­cil­i­ties. Just as schools do not see kinder­gartens as com­pe­ti­tion, nor should the com­mer­cial gyms be so alarmed by this mar­ket devel­op­ment.

As a past mem­ber of Nae­nae’s fit­ness suite and cur­rent mem­ber of one of the com­mer­cial gyms I be­lieve each of­fer­ing is dif­fer­ent, with a dif­fer­ent mar­ket seg­ment. In­deed the en­try of the fit­ness suites into the mar­ket are a po­ten­tial win for the gyms as they have the po­ten­tial to at­tract peo­ple to ac­quire the ex­er­cise habit or re­quired mo­bil­ity in an af­ford­able, non threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­ment, thus in­creas­ing the over­all mar­ket size and po­ten­tial cus­tomer base.

It is a com­mon mar­ket­ing strat­egy to grow the mar­ket rather than just fight it out for a share of it; and thus savvy busi­nesses will recog­nise this. Rather than team up to fight com­pe­ti­tion, the gyms should team up to fight obe­sity and in­ac­tive life­styles and recog­nise the unique role the fit­ness suite has to play. That would be a moral stand.

J Clen­don


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