Operators of the LifeCenter Plus health and fitness center know how to get attention. On April 5, the Hudson, Ohio, facility hosted a 273-person water aerobics class, earning it a spot in the Guinness World Records as host of the World’s Largest Water Aerobics Display. It was a public relations coup, garnering pre- and post-event coverage in print and broadcast media. Participants raised more than $2,300 for a local diabetes charity.
That’s just one example of how LifeCenter Plus makes its programs stand out.
“The biggest thing that differentiates us is our programming,” Aquatics Director Jim Clark says. This year, operators began an aquatics PE program for home-schooled youngsters. The program accommodates a wide age range and combines aquatics and water safety skills instruction with basic dryland physical education, Clark says. Other aquatic offerings include Aquaqi, a combination of Tai Chi; Qi Gong; and balance training, conducted in the warm-water pool.
Other programming is in place for special populations. A local physical therapy provider uses the facility twice a week; there are specialized scuba classes for individuals with multiple sclerosis, and group swim lessons for children and teens with special needs.
But none of these activities would be possible without LifeCenter Plus’ top-notch fitness facility and aquatic features. Everything is available to members for fees of about $50 to $75 per month.
Though the center is rooted in serious health and fitness offerings, the marketing strategies are all about fun. Take a three-hour cruise (OK, 21/2 hours) at the annual Gilligan’s Island Costume Party, complete with cocktails and snacks at poolside.
Additional events such as pirate-themed parties and cardboard-boat building contests are equally effective in getting attention and driving traffic.
With so many offerings, innovative programs and ingenious marketing, it’s no surprise the 30-year-old center has amazing attendance. Remembering that Hudson has only about 22,000 residents, these numbers are truly impressive: Every year, approximately 400 people utilize the water yoga classes; 650 benefit from the center’s water therapy programs; and more than 700 learn to swim there.
Best of all, the Guinness World Record was no fluke: 4,200 people fill the busy pools of LifeCenter every year to aerobicize to their hearts’ content. — Neal Broverman