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5-yrsBy Brian Van Bower

‘As obvious as [it] may seem, it’s phenomenally easy to lose sight of the immediate importance of healthful habits,’ wrote Brian Van Bower in opening his Aqua Culture column in the July/August 2011 edition of WaterShapes.  ‘I know deep in my heart that being healthy is a long-term commitment, but I also know how easy it is to set that discipline aside.’

‘As we make our way through [the busy] summer season, . . . it’s easier than usual to set aside concerns about healthy living in favor of aggressively pursuing business opportunities.  . . .  While it is certainly wonderful to be busy, we should nonetheless be aware of the pitfalls that exist in living our lives out of balance.’  He continued:


‘[W]e all need to seek balance in our lives.  We should not hesitate, for example, to balance a week’s worth of hard work with a relaxing weekend.  We should also incorporate rest and exercise into our routines during the week so we can stay sharp mentally and energetic physically.  I know from experience that being healthy enables me to concentrate better, makes me more creative and helps me avoid stress.’


‘[N]one of this should be news to anyone reading this.  . . .  But there’s a subtler factor in play here:  In our society, we like not only to feel good, but to look good as well.  We like the idea of presenting an image of a fit and healthy person.’


‘We also seem to like the thought that we can do things of a physical nature – take long walks, swim in the ocean or outlast that large fish on the line.  But as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed a real divide in the way people approach aging, especially when it comes to notions of remaining physically active.’


‘I personally believe that giving in to the aging process is a great way to accelerate it.  Yes, we’re all going to die, no exceptions, but none of us knows when, so I intend to live my life to the fullest and take care of myself as though I’ll be around indefinitely.’  


‘Again, it’s all about balance:  We all need to exercise in ways that are appropriate . . . and seek out activities that keep us moving, make our hearts beat a bit faster and maybe get us to break a sweat.’


‘One of the great things about modern life is that you don’t have to look very hard or go very far to find resources that will help you get healthy.  Fitness clubs are everywhere, diet programs are perhaps too plentiful, health-food stores are opening all over the map and the information available on television, online and in libraries is truly overwhelming.  Lots of avenues to good health are available to all of us – we just need to take the first steps.’


‘Tying this monologue back to a broader observation, professionals in the watershaping industry should also remember that one of the big selling points for pools and spas is the fact that they, in addition to being beautiful, foster healthy lifestyles.  In a quantifiable way, we can say that our industry provides its clients with fountains of youth.’


‘It’s always bothered me that more watershapers don’t make hay with the primary benefits offered by our products – but perhaps there’s a balance to be struck here as well:  After all, you don’t have to give up on beautiful aesthetics to promote health benefits at the same time.  These are not conflicting concepts, but instead are complementary ideas that consumers love once they put them together and they can use the healthfulness of aquatic activity as a rationale for an aesthetic indulgence.’


‘So step back and consider:  You look and feel great, and you walk into a client’s home ready to discuss a product that not only will make the backyard more attractive, that not only will foster an engaging outdoor lifestyle, but that also stands to make the client more healthy.  If you look at all this with the right set of eyes,’ Brian concluded, ‘your clients can have it all – and so can you.’

What’s your own level of commitment to physical fitness?  Do you agree with Brian that it has both personal and professional consequences?  And what do you think about his idea of promoting fitness as an outcome of swimming pool ownership?  Please share your thoughts by commenting below!


Brian Van Bower runs Aquatic Consultants, a design firm based in Miami, Fla., and is a co-founder of the Genesis Design Group; dedicated to top-of-the-line performance in aquatic design and construction, this organization conducts schools for like-minded pool designers and builders.  He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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