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Gymtopia. A place where clubs do social good

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A group of men and women taking part in the Dancing Parkinson’s YYC programme taught by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks using a Dance Education model from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada -

Dancing Parkinson’s YYC programme Calgary, Canada

Launched in 2013 as a pilot project, Dancing Parkinson’s YYC provides dance classes to people with Parkinson disease, their spouses, friends and care partners. It is based on the simple belief that ‘dancing is good for us’. With live musical accompaniment and a focus on rhythm and musicality, body awareness, muscle development, coordination and socializing, Dancing Parkinson’s YYC brings together the style of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks with a Dance Education model used at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  The program is dedicated to enhancing people’s quality of life through the arts.



Toupee for a Day – Raise $50 and get a toupee for a day. Show that people are not alone

Helping those in need through exercise Calgary and Edmonton, Canada

We give back to our communities and support organizations who foster wellness initiatives for people in need. We do so by providing programming and fundraising through exercise activities. We support two main charities along with public schools through a number of annual initiatives. These include the World Health Games, Toupee for a day, Annual Golf classic and Summer Fitness Party, all in support of Wellspring Calgary. We also run our “Train the Trainer” toy drive in support of the Women’s Centres. We also provide our Mobile Fitness Unit programming to area public schools at no charge.

Jasmin Kirstein, founder of My Sportlady club in Munich stands with staff and children from an orphanage in Myanmar –

My Sportlady forges a place in member’s hearts Munich, Germany

The remarkable story of how the My Sportlady independent club in Munich, Germany is harnessing its altruistic purpose to forge meaningful connections with members and the wider community. It is written by Ray Algar, founder of Gymtopia.

Why feature My Sportlady?

Given there are more than 48,000 fitness clubs and centres across Europe (Source: EuropeActive), I am always fascinated as to why a minority of clubs have a reputation far beyond their operating borders. These days most clubs typically possess similar resources (skilled people, equipment, facilities, programmes etc) – globalisation has seen to that, so why does the story and mission of a 2,000 member woman’s-only club in Germany, spread?

The fitness brand has so far raised US$100,000 for the EquiCenter charity

Movement, Community, Service – Midtown Athletic Club Rochester, New York State, USA

This is the story of how Midtown Athletic Club located in the American state of New York has for more than forty years used generosity to build strong community connections. It is written by Ray Algar, founder of Gymtopia.

I have long been interested in how connected and rooted a club is within its immediate community. When a health club opens in a neighbourhood, it plugs into both its infrastructure and community of people. It can be likened to a symbiotic (from Greek – ‘living together’) relationship as found in nature. When I look at some of the world’s most remarkable health club brands, I often discover a strategic intent that they play a proactive part in the prosperity of the community; they are not just there harvesting its resources. They forge a reputation for compassion and generosity and over time become an influential, valued and integral part of the community. So this month, I want to share the story of how Midtown Athletic Clubs in the United States has embraced a strong sense of corporate citizenship and a wider definition of community to enable its clubs to flourish even as the competitive landscape intensifies. In just five years time, this privately owned business celebrates its 50th anniversary so I believe there is a lot we can learn from this mature brand.