Outlast the credit crunch and hit the ground running

Research shows that exercise can improve your health, confidence and quality of life. Now you can help ladies in your area to discover the benefits of exercise for life by investing in a Shapeup & Go fitness centre

Exercise is a great stress buster. It can help you keep the weight off, but more importantly, it will lower your risk of developing major chronic diseases. Experts agree that just 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity physical activity a week is all it takes to reap the health benefits.

While most of us are well aware of the need to be active for our long term health, finding the right kind of exercise and the right environment to do it in can prove difficult for some ladies. The traditional image of lycra-clad fitness fanatics pumping iron and spending hours on cross trainers and running machines induces nothing but fear and dread for many, especially the more mature lady.

'At Shapeup & Go we have made it our mission to create a non-threatening fitness environment that addresses the particular needs of older and less active ladies,' explains Managing Director John Mollart. 'A Shapeup & Go workout takes just 30 minutes, during which a set time is spent on each of our state-of-the-art, power-assisted exercise machines. Each machine is designed to target a particular body area and muscle group, providing low-impact exercise that does not cause unnecessary stress on delicate joints. The effort produced by each machine is varied according to each member's individual exercise programme, ensuring that they can work safely towards their ultimate fitness goal.'

The health benefits for members are vast. At present, poor diet, lack of exercise, and excess weight accounts for approximately a third of cancers in western countries. There is also research to suggest that moderate intensity, low-impact activity is just as effective as high-impact activity in lowering the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. In fact, there are circumstances where high-impact exercise is not recommended, such as for people with arthritis, osteoperosis or for those who are very overweight.

'Shapeup & Go offers these people the perfect exercise solution, while our staff provide the motivation and support that they need as they follow their individually tailored fitness programme,' confirms John. 'It is equally important that our members have a fun and enjoyable experience every time they visit. We operate an appointment system to ensure that they can access all the equipment within their 30 minutes. We also provide a relaxed and comfortable coffee lounge area where they can chat with friends and our trainers before and after their exercise. These special touches have allowed Shapeup & Go to enjoy one of the highest member retention rates in the fitness industry.'

In these challenging times the astute investor is searching for a business opportunity that can outlast the pressures of the credit crunch. 'There are many reasons why this is the perfect time to invest in a Shapeup & Go fitness centre,' explains John. 'Premises are now more readily available and often have incentives attached such as an introductory rent free period. As your internal design and shop fitting is project managed by the head office team, you are ideally placed to take full advantage of this concession. In addition, our training and support ensures that franchise owners hit the ground running, with income being generated from day one. Membership fees are paid in advance, allowing you to remain cash positive, which is important in today's economic climate.'

The first Shapeup & Go franchised fitness centre is opening in Spring 2009.

Reported by Charlotte Urwin