Canada's Condominium Magazine

Do condo dwellers have a better shot at keeping fit?

The majority of Canadians consider themselves fairly healthy. They think this because they eat homemade meals, including fruit and vegetables, at least once a day, according to new research by the marketing intelligence firm Mintel. The perception of being healthy varies with different age groups, demographics, sex and income, but most think their lifestyle is pretty healthy. Two-thirds say they find the time to exercise at least once a week, while about 20 per cent do so once a day.

The research was done with marketing possibilities in mind. A “lifestyle analyst” at Mintel, Jason Praw, said in the release about this research that marketers and sports-related organizations could take advantage of and “nurture” this perception of health among Canadians by promoting “new, fun and unique fitness activities and programs.” It’s a great opportunity for athletic apparel and equipment retailers. And for those who do not self-identify as healthy, especially young males, the “gamification” of fitness could be promoted. If young males won’t go out and play football or go to the gym, give them more active games to play on their Xboxes and PlayStations.

Some, if not all, of the findings of this Mintel research have to be taken with a grain of salt—Quebecers, for instance, profess the lowest consumption of junk food among respondents, even though they eat a lot of poutine and smoked meat, which “cannot be considered healthy.” Do Quebecers define junk food differently than the rest of Canadians? Apparently so.

The problem of motivation

No discussion of health, fitness and lifestyle could be considered even remotely thorough without mentioning the question of motivation, and in this instance, lack of motivation was cited as the main barrier to better health by more than half (56 per cent). Even more Quebecers, under-35s, and the people with greatest need of a better lifestyle, the ones who already self-identify as unhealthy, said that lack of motivation was holding them back. The other big barrier to healthier living is lack of spare time, especially among parents.

And this brings the Mintel researchers face to face with the reality that many people are simply not motivated. “Increasing motivation is one of the largest challenges for marketers and health organizations, as reasons for lacking motivation can vary greatly among different demographics.”

The big question is, how do you get people motivated? There is a very large, very profitable industry out there that deals with nothing else. Tony Robbins, among many others, has grown rich and famous on motivating others. Why do so many companies book “motivational speakers” to address employees on professional development days? Why do so many well-intentioned self-improvement plans, like losing weight or quitting smoking, fail?

In the case of the un-motivated, less-than-healthy Canadians, some may respond to “cheaper gym options.” Others might just need education about the merits of living a healthier lifestyle, say the Mintel people.

Avonshire-Tridel-swimming-pool-amenities-fitness-lifestyle-health-Condo.ca
Swimming pool at Avonshire condominiums from Tridel. Pictured above is the fitness studio at 101 Erksine (rendering) also from Tridel. A major benefit of the condo lifestyle is access to excellent health and fitness amenities.

Motivation is just too big and complex an issue to deal with lightly. Look at lifestyle coaches’ tips on getting motivated and they invariably contain advice like “get more active” or “think positive” or “set realistic goals.” The trouble is, you have to be motivated to do any of these things. No wonder failure rates are high.

However, those who live in condos that are fitted with reasonably good amenities may already have the “cheaper gym options” problem solved. And you can’t say it’s too much trouble to get to the gym when it’s just a few floors away by elevator.

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