WELL Concept #5: Fitness

WELL Concept #5: Fitness

Fitness is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies.” By now, we all know that regular physical activity is key to fitness, weight management and chronic disease prevention. Bearing in mind that we spend 90% of our time indoors and a good portion of that at the computer, watching television or in otherwise resting mode, the  WELL Building Standard® for Fitness intends to get building occupants moving. 
WELL for Fitness preconditions focus on two elements: the integration and design of interior pathways and stairs to encourage physical activity (“interior fitness circulation”) and activity incentive programs.
Required interior fitness circulation features include:

  • At least one common staircase accessible to regular building occupants during all business hours, to be located within 25 ft of building entrance, check-in point or lobby, and clearly visible or located visually before any elevators
  • Stairway way finding signage and point of decision prompts, with at least one sign per elevator bank
  • Minimum stair width of 56 inches between handrails or as allowable by code
  • At least two aesthetically appealing elements displayed in common stairs and paths: artwork, music, daylighting, view windows, light levels of at least 215 lux, and natural or
    nature-inspired biophilic elements
Activity incentive programs, provided by the building owner to full-time employees, must comprise two of the following options:
  • Tax-exempt payroll deductions or direct subsidies relating to active transportation such
    as biking or taking mass transit to work
  • Reimbursement or incentive payments for every 6-month period an employee meets a
    50-visit minimum to a gym or physical activity program
  • Subsidy toward fitness activity participation or membership costs, offered at least yearly
  • Annual bike share membership subsidy, offered at least yearly
  • No-cost or discounted physical activity opportunities or memberships, with a demonstrated use by 30% of occupants at least weekly in past six months

WELL for Fitness optimizations include credits for onsite structured fitness programs and fitness education activities run by a qualified professional, as well as the availability of cardio and strength training equipment. Other optimizations that encourage movement are:
  • Active exterior design elements, such as plazas, gardens, water fountains and
    neighborhood walkability
  • Designated interior and exterior exercise spaces
  • Active transportation support in the form of bicycle storage/tools availability and 
    post-commute and workout facilities such as showers and lockers
  • Active furnishings, such as treadmill desks, bicycle desks and portable desk pedal or
    stepper machines, and prevalence of sit/stand desks

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into WELL for Fitness and how you can incorporate its features in your upcoming projects, please email me directly.
To view past installments in our WELL series, please view the media section of our website.
Wishing you WELL,
Bruce Lilker, PE, LEED® AP,  WELL AP

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