Fitness: Did you hear?… Total Fitness lends hand to local VA hospital, plus TKO Holdings, Leisure Fitness, Geezerjock, RedOctane and more

Total Fitness retail store does good deed for community, indoor cycling catching on in China, TKO Holdings centralizes operations in Houston, Leisure Fitness wins News Journal award, plus much more...
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For the week of July 12-18

>> Earlier this month, Total Fitness managers, owners and staff took on a community service project as its first step to getting more involved with the local area. Co-owner Gary Catania told SNEWS® he and others not only set up a full exercise room at the Veteran's Home and Hospital in nearby Rocky Hill, Conn. -- we're talking treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and strength machines, as well as flooring and accessories -- but they also spent a day sprucing up the room. The crew painted and freshened up the facility to make it more pleasant. Catania said the company's suppliers helped with the equipment donations. The facility not only helps senior citizen veterans, but also veterans spending some time there after a turn in Iraq. "We thought this was a natural tie in support of the local community," he said. "Just giving back to the community for what's been given us." He added that veterans and residents dropped in all day to tell them how much they appreciated it. SNEWS® View: This is a perfect example of a total win-win where businesses get involved in projects that are near to them for some reason. They then not only do good for the community but also do good for their business. We'd like to see more doing this, and we'd like to hear about it too!

>> Indoor cycling is popular far and wide. Note the expanse of bikes in the picture (right) that a Chinese worker recently set up in preparation for a closing ceremony and mass class at the Fitness China Beijing 2005 fitness conference for fitness professionals (aasfp.com.hk). According to the wire services, as standards of living improve in the Chinese capital, residents are joining fitness clubs and purchasing home exercise equipment, and attracting international companies to set up offices. Fitness China is the the largest annual fitness show and convention in mainland China. It is supported and sponsored by the Chinese government and holds classes, lectures and workshops for teachers and trainers and has an exhibit hall. By the way, if you didn't recognize them, the bikes are Star Trac V-bikes.

>> TKO Holdings has centralized all of its operations and moved its head office to Houston as of July 1. This follows on the heels of its recent closing of its Canadian manufacturing and distribution center and head office in Hamilton, Ontario, and its sales and marketing office in Pompano Beach, Fla. The company said these moves allow its executive team, operations, sales and marketing to work together and, ultimately, better serve its customers.

>> In just two issues, magazine newcomer Geezerjock has doubled its circulation and tripled its paid ad pages. The magazine was founded to provide serious coverage of the burgeoning world of Masters sports, like track and field and swimming, and fitness for athletes aged 40 and over. This segment of athletics is expected to boom as the U.S. population ages, Geezerjock said. The summer issue of GeezerJock was mailed to about 34,000 people. "This growth in circulation speaks to the growth in Masters sports, and it shows that our magazine has tapped into a group that has been starved for coverage," said Bill Ferguson, vice president-sales director of GeezerJock. "The fact that we more than tripled our paid advertising pages in GeezerJock between the spring and summer issues shows that marketers want to reach this active and affluent group of people." The quarterly magazine also has a companion website at http://www.geezerjock.com/, which was recognized recently as a "Webby Worthy" website.

>> Leisure Fitness has just won a Reader's Choice award from the local News Journal for best fitness equipment store for the fifth year in a row. The company was also recently named "The Best Place to Work" and "The Company to Watch" by the same newspaper.  

>> Retail industry sales for June (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose a strong 7.5 percent unadjusted over last year and increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from May, according to the National Retail Federation. The gains, which led second quarter sales to rise 6.1 percent over 2004, were stronger than NRF said it had been expecting. June retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) rose 1.7 percent seasonally adjusted from May and increased 10.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Automotives and gasoline sales, categories that NRF does not include in its retail industry sales numbers, performed well last month. NRF expects retail industry sales to increase 5.4 percent this year over 2004.

>> The Lancet, a British medical journal, released a study on July 14 that said growing evidence shows childhood obesity is linked to a lack of exercise and not to caloric consumption. Echoing recent studies published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the new report said that regardless of food intake, exercise is the central determinant of whether kids are overweight. www.thelancet.com

>> Get into The Groove, man! RedOctane sure did with its music video games and peripherals. A recent study by the company of 3rd and 4th grade kids, who participated in the In The Groove video game, found they improved social skills, increased self-image and fostered teamwork. During the five-month pilot program, student leaders known as "Groove Masters" became mentors who taught their peers how to play the game. Teachers reported that 94 percent of the students demonstrated an increase in leadership skills and confidence, impacting student's self-esteem and academic success. Testing showed that 4th graders using In The Groove improved their mile run times by 13.8 percent. And, drum roll please, students reported more enthusiasm for sports, fitness and dance than before the program began. Now those are stats we like to hear!

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