Get Fit

Aq 207 10pg 0001

At the last AQUA Show, I finally got to try swimming in place. The previous year, I had a fun post-show afternoon swimming against the current in Mandalay Bay's lazy river (I maintained my position but couldn't manage to get up-river) and in the wave pool (note to self: wear a wet suit next time there's a possibility of getting tossed onto the beach), but I had never experienced a swim spa or a current generator. I tried in Atlantic City last year, but the water was 58 degrees and, well, I chickened out.

At the last show, though, I snuck onto the show floor early one morning and kept my appointment to try the swimming machine. I had been skeptical, but it was terrific! It was nearly identical to swimming in still water, and the mirror mounted on the bottom of the tank let me see exactly what my stroke looked like. I was so impressed that I selfishly assigned myself to write the swim spa feature this month (page 57).

As I talked with manufacturers and other experts for the story, it became obvious that these machines provide the perfect opportunity for industry professionals to really sell the health benefits of our industry. Everyone knows swimming is a great way to stay fit and avoid injury, but it's not accessible to lots of people — ironically, even to people with swimming pools.

Residential pools are most often sold and used primarily as entertaining space, a space for relaxing and for soaking up the sun. There's nothing wrong with that, but it seems to me there's an untapped market out there of aging, active folks. Builders should have a look at the "rebranding" of the hot tub category currently being undertaken by the Hot Tub Council. Sure, our pools and hot tubs are everything we've always thought they were, but they are also health and fitness equipment, and health and fitness sells.

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