Located in Hudson, Ohio, LifeCenter Plus is a full-service health and fitness facility opened in 1978. The complex includes a complete fitness center with TechnoGym strength-training and cardio equipment, a spinning studio, yoga and tai chi studios, an indoor track and a rock-climbing wall.

But with five pools, including a warm-water therapy pool and an outdoor aquatics center opened in 2004, aquatics is a mainstay that has helped boost membership.

The long-standing aquatics programs “focus on variety and entertainment value,” says Aquatics Director Jim Clark. “We know we’re not only in competition with other aquatics and health facilities, but with any other venue that patrons spend discretionary income on,” he adds. “When you realize that you are up against theaters, concerts and even cable TV, you must make your programming fun and exciting to thrive in today’s market.”

To that end, the Life Center Plus team strives to offer innovative options in the categories of water aerobics, poolside land aerobics and tri-athlete training. All options are on the table, including shallow- and deep-water fitness, and aquatic tai chi/Qui Gong. Additionally, the facility offers arthritis classes in the warm-water therapy pool; swim lessons encouraging adults and children to learn how to swim; scuba; and a competitive swim team with nearly 150 participants, open to members and nonmembers.

Catering to local families, LifeCenter Plus also hosts several themed kids’ parties throughout the year. Special events are planned to coincide with school holidays and include a pirate party, a cardboard boat building and sailing contest to commemorate George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, and a Martin Luther King Day celebration. 

The home-schooled student market also is an important niche. LifeCenter Plus boasts an aquatics-based physical education program for home-schooled students, which provides physical education, socialization and recreation. The program was so popular, Clark says it’s been expanded and now features a lifeguard training course geared toward older home-schooled students. 

With so much going on, a challenge the facility faces is scheduling. “For example, swim team, although a fantastic program, requires us to close the outdoor pool early several times a year for swim meets,” Clark notes. “We must be careful not to encroach on our recreational swimming patrons too often and metaphorically kill the goose. The key to successfully navigating the pool scheduling has been to always consider what a new event [will] do to the whole aquatic community, and when a new program is added, give lots of advance notice to the fact that we are having a scheduling change.”