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Healthy Pursuits

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WaterShapes LogotypeEric Herman

When you talk to clients about why they want a swimming pool or spa, which benefits generally top their lists? Are they after beauty, luxury or a relaxing lifestyle accessory? Or is it the sound of moving water, a focus on entertaining or a place to play?

Through the years, I’ve spoken with lots of you about how important it is to understand precisely what clients are after and the extent to which their desires drive design decisions. Many of you have mentioned that it’s like being a detective and getting inside clients’ minds. That’s a tough job, and ferreting out cues can encompass discussions of anything from art history or entertainment options to the child-like joy that comes with playing in the water.

Of all the things I hear, however, the basic health benefits of hydrotherapy and aquatic exercise seem to fall way down the list. That’s always surprised me, frankly, and reinforces my personal suspicion that most people (watershapers and clients alike) don’t fully appreciate just how good swimming and other forms of exercise in a pool or other body of water can truly be for all of us.

Sure, we all know in general terms that aquatic exercise is healthful in the same way as jogging or working out on treadmills or with weight machines, but beyond that we just accept it and don’t explore the subject to any great degree. We don’t see seminars on aquatic health benefits offered at trade shows, nor has it been a frequent subject of coverage in the trade press, WaterShapes included.

At the same time, we’re positively bombarded by information on the risk factors associated with pools and spas – child drowning, suction entrapment, bacterial challenges and more. While preventing these problems is hugely important, I’ve long argued that there’s an imbalance in the types of health-and-safety information readily available to the industry and the public at large.

My interest and involvement in these issues was rekindled by a recent conversation with Laurie Batter, a long-time swimming advocate who, among many other things, is the public relations agent for the National Swimming Pool Foundation. She called to convince me that WaterShapes should take up aquatic health and fitness as a crusade and put our powers of persuasion behind promoting a broad range of benefits about which everyone needs to know.

As she explained, those benefits are profound and surprising – but too few people recognize just how health-sustaining a product our industry provides.

Spurred by our conversation and taking advantage of her access to a variety of top-flight resources, I began exploring the possibility of an article on the subject of aquatic health benefits – and what I found was nothing short of astounding, as you’ll see in “Therapy Power” (click here).

It’s a quick look at a huge subject, but even this mere scratching of the surface demonstrates that watershapes made for human immersion might be the most healthful of all products of any kind, anywhere. That’s no exaggeration, and it’s my hope that this article (and others to follow) will shine a light on a set of benefits that every watershaper should embrace and unfailingly discuss with clients at every opportunity.

In this case, the fact that it sounds too good to be true is not the issue: What’s really at stake is giving clients access to longer, healthier lives.

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