Multifamily operators want their fitness centers to provide a quality workout in a quality environment. And that includes everything from a positive social experience to protecting the health of patrons.

Today’s state-of-the-art equipment delivers on all fronts. Consider the new exercise bike from Expresso, which allows riders to take the experience of working out online by connecting them with their social networks.

Or how about products that elevate the cleanliness of the fitness center? After all, traditional fitness centers provide an environment for skin-to-skin and bodily secretion contact, making residents vulnerable to a variety of skin diseases. In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Athletic Training found that gyms and fitness centers are hotbeds for germs that can lead to athlete’s foot, herpes, boils, and more.

Steven Zinder, assistant professor of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says maintenance of clean facilities is paramount to limiting the spread of infectious diseases. Moreover, all equipment should be disinfected daily. Fortunately, most equipment today is manufactured with easy-to-clean materials. Some manufacturers are going a step further, using materials that resist germs. For instance, Pittsburgh-based SilverSport has created yoga mats, massaging Pilates rollers, and towels that have been treated with nanosilver, a chemical compound that makes the products antimicrobial and odor free regardless of the amount of sweat.

And all of these trends toward higher quality means residents will want to keep their New Year’s resolutions and shed those pesky holiday pounds.

Social Animal: Expresso bikes are now available with software that supports social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. The new software allows riders to share milestones, such as a specific ride or an award for cumulative mileage. For more information, call Expresso at 888-528-8589 or visit

Fitness for All: CYBEX International’s Total Access line offers fitness equipment for physically-impaired users. The equipment allows fitness enthusiasts with physical or sensory limitations to use the same equipment designed for the general population. The CYBEX Total Access Lat Pull I Model 14130, for example, features a bar handle height adjustment that allows the bar to be adjusted for wheelchair users. For more information, call CYBEX International at 508-533-4300 or visit

Ease of Use: Life Fitness complements its comprehensive strength-training family, Signature Series, with the addition of its new Signature Series Plate-Loaded line. Designed for a variety of users, the line was optimized to fit 98 percent of the global population. Every piece features pictorial placards to enhance ease of use. For more information, call Life Fitness at 800-634-8637 or visit

Safe for Sweat: SilverSport offers yoga mats, massaging Pilates rollers, and towels that have been treated with the compound nanosilver, which makes them antimicrobial and odor free. The products, which are the brainchild of Hall of Fame football player Franco Harris, don’t require the use of harsh chemicals for sanitation. For more information, call SilverSport at 412-364-1792 or visit

Better Bells: Tag Fitness has rolled out kettle bells with a new texture and form for better grip and handling. The bells can be used for core, upper body strength training and are appropriate for both individual and group exercise training. Constructed of a synthetic, weather-resistant rubber surface to increase durability, the bells maintain their balance and original shape. For more information, call Tag Fitness at 877-824-4348 or visit

Smooth Stride: With Vision Fitness’ Suspension Elliptical trainers, users can experience a more comfortable elliptical motion because the machine’s pedal arms are suspended off of the ground instead of rolling up-and-down tracks. Since there are no wheels or tracks, there is less rolling resistance or friction, which reduces noise and equipment wear and tear. For more information, call Vision Fitness at 800-335-4348 or visit