- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Are you well?

You might have a clean bill of health from the doctor, but it takes more than that for complete wellness. Those who follow the principles of wellness work daily to achieve a balance of mind, body and spirit.

“Wellness allows us to improve our quality of life, feel better about ourselves and others, have more energy and creativity at work, and, above all else, live better and longer,” said Nerio Alessandri, CEO of Technogym, a fitness and design company.

In an email interview with The Washington Times, he said wellness is achieved through regular physical exercise, a healthy diet and a positive mental attitude. He also explained the difference between fitness and wellness: “I believe that fitness is an important component of the wellness lifestyle, but fitness is about ‘looking good’ and wellness is a wider concept about ‘feeling good.’”

Knockout LA, a California fitness studio, also is incorporating the wellness philosophy into its programs. “You can be in the best shape and be miserable if you aren’t doing … things to make yourself feel good and empowered,” founder Tracey Raftery told The Los Angeles Times.

The trend toward holistic health is expanding around the world. “The wellness movement is a response to the pressure of modern life,” said Brian McCarter of Ogilvy, a researcher into the pioneers of wellness. “The 24/7 always on norm is making us sick. Despite advances in medicine, people feel that something has been lost and are seeking ways to integrate a healthy mind, body and spirit.”

Researchers have categorized anywhere from three to at least 10 dimensions of wellness. Keeping track of all these dimensions and integrating them into lifestyles would appear to add to stress levels.

Some companies have helped simplify the wellness lifestyle by incorporating multiple components into their systems. Technogym, for example, has developed a Personal Line that fulfills at least two dimensions of wellness: fitness and aesthetics. Aesthetics can fall into various dimensions such as intellectual, emotional or environmental wellness. In other words, wellness includes an appreciation of art and an aesthetically pleasing environment.

“Our homes are one of the most important spaces in our lives,” Mr. Alessandri said. “At Technogym, we have seen an increasing demand from people who want to have a wellness aspect, dedicated to physical activity, incorporated in their home environment. It’s become a necessity, just as much as we need a kitchen or sofa.”

Little, an international architectural and design firm, makes a connection between wellness and space. “The way that we design space has a direct impact on physical and mental fatigue, awareness, memory cognition, depression, cardiovascular & musculoskeletal health,” the company says on its blog Think.

It’s called salutogenic design, or designing for wellness. Salutogenesis is a model for health outlined in a 1996 Oxford research paper by Israeli-American sociologist Aaron Antonovsky.

Many in-home fitness devices run counter to this philosophy. Many of us have seen a treadmill or stationary bicycle in a home that was purchased with good intentions only to end up as an unsightly, bulky coat rack.

As for Technogym’s equipment, Mr. Alessandri calls them “furnishings.”

“The goal of the products in the Personal Line collection was to have them be pieces of art that can be integrated to the interior design of the home environment and become part of an everyday lifestyle,” he said.

How does a company make a piece of fitness equipment look like nice furnishing? Technogym chose Italian designer Antonio Citterio to create the Personal Line. Mr. Alessandri noted the precision craftsmanship. “It’s perfect mix between the very best in terms of biomechanics, technology and performance with outstanding design made from the finest materials,” he said.

Just how will these pieces look in your living space? Mr. Alessandri said the Technogym interior design service uses a virtual reality tool. “This VR tool was created to help our clients in visualizing how our products can be included in any type of project or space,” he said.

The balance of body, mind and spirit can be a beautiful thing.

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