Health Resolutions 2012


Most of us have health resolutions for 2011:

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I will lose weight

I will shape up

I will kicky my smoking habit

I will knock off my caffeine addiction

Many people who have made health resolutions for 2012 made more or less the same ones in 2011 but some of us forgot to stick by them and sunk  to the old, callous lifestyle by the next two months

Memberships for health clubs and weight-loss programs are at its peak in January.  It is the most important month for the entire health club industry; this is the time when gym memberships double.  Come March and people stop coming to the gyms and dieters forget their resolutions. By December, we are back with our agenda and cough up money again.  The ‘self improvement industry’ which comprises of weight loss centers, health clubs and counseling thrives on one factor –our inability to change ourselves.

The statistics from Marketdata Enterprises show that Americans spent more than $62 billion on various weight loss programs, gym-club membership, exercising video tapes. It is not about these diets and exercising working for us or not, it is about addressing the factors that make us going into relapse.  We should get down to the root of the problem and address our worries, anxieties, stress and get into action to make ourselves look good, feel better and be in control of the situation.

Did you know that health clubs in the US have more than 50 million members and generate revenue of close to $22 billion? But members come only more than once a week for their programs, most of them actually come just to justify the fee that they paid.

Stefano DellaVigna, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-author of a study titled “Paying Not to Go to The Gym, says, “From an economics standpoint, he says, many people would be better off paying per visit than signing up for a rolling monthly membership” It is seen that at any given month, 1/5th of a gym’s members turn inactive.  Gyms of course, are having fun because they are earning lots of money at your expense.

Scott M. Rosen, the chief operating officer of Equinox, the upscale fitness chain says frankly, “Most of these businesses want to sign you up and hope you don’t show up,” At Equinox, he says that members who absent themselves from more than two weeks get an automatic email from their club manager asking them to come back and reminding them of their goals.

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Robert J. Giardina, the CEO of Town Sports International, which offers 30 day trial membership for $30 says, “Exercise isn’t easy. Most people don’t like it. But if they can get past a certain point as in about two months or 12 workouts — they get committed.”

You should go for gyms and health-clubs like Life Time Fitness, which has more than 1. 3 million members. They put in activities that people can enjoy and make a habit out of them.  They have sprawling to 180,000-square-foot clubs which offer basketball grounds, swimming, yoga, tennis, alternative workouts like Yoga and Pilates, weight loss programs, spa treatments etc.

Back to the statistics, Americans are known to spend $1.2 billion on exercise tapes, videos, diet books and $3.2 billion on various weight loss programs. At the same time, they spend more than $26 billion on ready-to-eat foods, junk food, diet soda and artificial sweeteners.   The reason Weight Watchers has become very popular is they are resolute about making people committed to their idea of losing weight.  They have a multi-pronged approach of a flexible diet based on its point system and weekly educational meetings. They employ digital tools like  mobile apps that can help people significantly.

January is also known as the ‘quitting season’ for smoking. About $522 million are spending on over-the-counter nicotine replacement lozenges, skin patches, gums and anti-smoking products. The first week of January report increase in sales of sales of the NicoDerm CQ patch and  Nicorette gum and lozenges by about 40 percent.

Dr. Anne M. Joseph, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota who studies smoking cessation says only 3 -8 percent of smokers are capable of quitting the habit on their own. Sadly, only 20 percent of people who use nicotine replacement products ‘under controlled conditions’ quit the habit.

There are government funded resources like 1-800-QUIT-NOW hot line and smokefree.gov that help people join ‘quit smoking’ programs for free.  In 2011, the federal government floated a program known as SmokefreeTXT. Smokers signing up for the program receive free text messages motivating their efforts to quit and offering practical advice, even for craving and relapse.

While the commercial health industry does benefit from people who have failed health resolutions, giving people incentives to keep up their commitment can actually work wonders for their business.   There are emerging business models among progressive health clubs which reward people for gym attendance. For instance, offering a rebate of $10 or $20 for people who work out more than 2 times a week can also be quite beneficial for the member as well as the popularity of the gym or health-club.

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