Nintendo has taken Donkey Kong up a notch or two. One of the company’s latest product concepts, revealed during the E3 Media & Business Summit in July, might just put some personal fitness trainers out of business (or be a new profit center). The Wii Fit™ Balance Board (name not final) is a pressure-sensitive controller that users manipulate with their feet. The device not only simulates yoga, hula-hooping, soccer and other activities but also “promotes communication about health among family members.” The board measures and records a player’s weight and body mass, and users can review one another’s progress.
When Janet Carr and Tracey Pager bought their Contours Express women’s gym franchises in Spring Hill, Ridge Manor and Brooksville, Florida, they wanted to help women achieve their fitness and weight maintenance goals and make a living wage while exercising their passion for fitness.
“We were doing quite well with our three gyms, but we saw groups of women who really needed our services and products and could not afford to pay the $32-per-month fees,” said Carr. As part of their show of thanks to the community for their business successes, the partners set out to bring fitness to some of the neediest women in the area. Once every week the pair visits ARC (the Association for Retarded Citizens) in Spring Hill and Brooksville. Then on a second day each week they invite the group to come to their gyms in Brooksville and Spring Hill. All services are free.
Carr and Pager also invite women from The DAWN Center, a domestic and sexual violence shelter in Spring Hill, to come to their gyms a couple of times per week, at no charge. The pair plans to expand their outreach. “The happy and now healthier paying members in our gyms pay the bills and [cover] our personal needs, so we really feel lucky to be able to give back to the community in this way,” said Pager.
Thanks to a new self-service “bicycle transit system,” Parisians and tourists now have an added convenience that will help them explore the City of Light’s 230 miles of cycling lanes. The French capital debuted its eco-friendly communal bicycle program, called “Velib,” in July. Users pick up and drop off the bikes at 750 locations throughout the city. Currently there are 10,648 bikes available for use, but this number is expected to grow to more than 20,000 by the end of the year, with stations positioned approximately 900 feet apart. Paris officials are hoping to draw on the experience of smaller-scale rental programs in other cities, like Stockholm, Sweden and Berlin.