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Why cardio equipment is essential to your members and how to select the best pieces. 

Cardio equipment has been an essential part of the fitness and recreation industry for years. 

According to Global Market Insights, the U.S. cardiovascular equipment market is projected to grow at more than 11% compound annual growth rate through 2027, propelled by the sharp rise of obesity rates in the country, resulting in diabetes, hypertension and cardiac arrests. In March 2021, among the 71,491 U.S. adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19, about 50% were obese and 28% were overweight.

While it’s clear cardio equipment is needed to help improve the overall health of members, it can be challenging to pick the best equipment provider. 

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County has a hodgepodge of Life Fitness, Precor and SCIFIT equipment to ensure they meet the needs of every member in their facility. 

“Precor equipment is used a lot at our facility,” said Casandra Smith, the regional wellness director at the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County. “The machines are easy to use, offer a lot of programs and the clients seem to enjoy them. Our senior members really enjoy the recumbent bikes since they are easy to use and comfortable. Precor also offers a lot of adjustments to make the bike fit just right.”

While the seniors at the Greater Monmouth County Y love bikes, Smith said treadmills are also very popular at their facility. She explained members are looking for cardio pieces that are connected to the internet, TVs and personal fitness tracking devices. Equipment that will track a member’s heart rate is a great bonus as well. “People are looking for an engaging environment that can keep them connected to their personal tech equipment to track, monitor and reward them for workouts,” she said. 

Cardio equipment typically sees high usage. But, Smith foresees an uptick in the colder months due to what RunRepeat is calling the running boom — with 28.76% of runners having started during the pandemic. 

The Greater Monmouth County Y saw many individuals take up walking, running and biking outdoors during the pandemic to stay or become healthier. When the colder weather begins, Smith said it’s up to the Y to show those members they don’t have to give up the momentum they created outdoors.

“While more are regaining their confidence to be out in public, there’s still some hesitancy in fitness facilities,” said Smith. “Centers need to be mindful of equipment placement to ensure ample space between equipment and provide enough sanitizing supplies to keep equipment and areas clean. We also suggest variety. There are many different types of cardio equipment, and everyone is different. Be sure to get items that are adjustable and easy to use.”

A great way to ensure you are getting the best cardio equipment for your members is to include them in the buying process. 

The Greater Monmouth County Y utilizes formal and informal surveys to see what members like and are looking for. The Y also inspects the equipment to see what had the most use and what did not. Generally, Smith said they can gauge what members like by watching the fitness floor and striking up conversation with them during the week.

Having your members contribute to the process can help you narrow down the plethora of options of cardio equipment. The last advice Smith offered for picking the right cardio equipment is to do what is best for your specific facility.

“There’s not a one size fits all approach to equipment and fitness facilities,” said Smith. “So, be sure to think about your target population and what their growing needs are. Variety is the spice of life.”  

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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