Blog : Dover Cultivates Good (Green) Health

By Craig | Aug 5, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

It’s easy being green, and being healthy, in Dover, New Hampshire. About a dozen fitness companies are members of the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce; several restaurants in the city serve local, seasonal, organic fare; and wholesome events are commonplace, from road races and farmers’ markets to Apple Harvest Day.

But the city of Dover also appreciates its green spaces and the active lifestyles of its residents.

“Dover has a lot of open park space, indoor and outdoor pools, an indoor hockey arena, and other recreational activities for children and adults,” said Katie MacKinnon, Membership and Business Resource Manager for the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, The Dover Community Trail and Cocheco River Walk encourage outdoor fun, and WalkDover.org is making Dover more walkable through signs showing the distance from that point to the next landmark.

“The majority of our clients are from Dover, and we’ve found that the Dover community is very health-conscious, with a big demand for what we’re doing,” said Jon Arnold, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Dover LLC.

Arnold and his team of trainers work with clients to help them lose weight, build muscle, eat healthier and meet personal goals for a more balanced lifestyle.

“We welcome all fitness levels, from body builders to those who need to lose 200 pounds,” said Arnold. “We also address the emotional and mental aspects of weight loss; we get involved in a way other gyms can’t, or won’t—for example, a trainer will go to a grocery store with a family to help them shop, and then will go to their home to discuss exercise and lifestyle.”

Settled in 1623, Dover is the oldest permanent settlement in the state of New Hampshire, yet this historic city is decidedly progressive, from the on-going revitalization of its downtown waterfront to its state-of-the-art middle school. The city also has a dynamic population—according to the latest census, 34-percent of Dover’s citizens are between the ages of 25 to 44.

This younger demographic has found affordable living in Dover, where the quality of life meets individual ideals. Those ideals include living a healthier lifestyle, one of the reasons local farms, all-natural retailers and restaurants, and facilities like Integrated Fitness are coming to the city in droves.

Located on Dover Point Road, Integrated Fitness’ nontraditional gym has a private environment, no membership fees, and instructor-led programs overseen by experienced, full-time trainers. It’s also eco-conscious, using mats made of recycled materials, giving new life to working secondhand equipment, and cleaning with green products and washable cloth towels; they also provide instruction for sustainable living and encourage clients to bring their own reusable water bottles.

Integrated Fitness is a partner with the Green Alliance, a locally driven union passionate about bringing together environmentally friendly businesses while also providing its members with discounts on green products and services. Green Alliance members save 10% on the Integrated Fitness Weight Loss Challenge, a ten-week program that takes a team-based, low-key competitive approach to meeting individual weight loss goals.

Arnold took a financial risk, quitting his desk job and launching Integrated Fitness in 2010. It proved to be a successful endeavor. During Integrated Fitness's first year, Arnold said he would've been happy if he booked 20 - 30 client hours. Four years later, Integrated Fitness had 80 - 90 client hours, and those numbers rose steadily to 110 in 2015. That much growth in such a short period of time leaves Arnold feeling optimistic about how people think of their health, as well as Integrated Fitness's growth.

"We hope to make it to 140-150 by the end of the year," he said. "That's a good goal."

The spike in Integrated Fitness’s client growth is an indication of Dover resident’s attitudes toward quality of life resources. With the city’s median age trending lower, incorporating young families and working professionals, a demand for sustainable amenities, both public and private, has increased.

The results from The City of Dover 2013 Citizen Survey indicate that being green is important to those who live in Dover: resident recycling, for example, was reported to be much greater than recycling in comparison communities. In addition, Dover’s preservation of natural areas—such as open spaces, farmlands, and greenbelts—was rated as “excellent” or “good” by 64-percent of survey respondents, and 76-percent of respondents rated the overall quality of the city’s natural environment as “excellent” or “good.”

Arnold believes that this trend, overall, is a good sign for Dover’s future amongst its residents and local businesses.

“The only way to realize true health and wellness is to incorporate green living,” said Arnold. “Cities must have elements like recycling programs, real-food restaurants, and places to get and stay fit, from green spaces to green gyms; in turn, citizens must utilize these offerings. And that’s just what’s happening in Dover. It’s fantastic.”

Green Alliance members save 10% off when they sign up for the Weight Loss Challenge. Not a member? Join here!

For more information on the City of Dover, visit www.dover.nh.gov.