One of the new exercise bikes at the Valley Fitness Centre in Invermere.

One of the new exercise bikes at the Valley Fitness Centre in Invermere.

For nearly a decade, society at large has been hit with a wave of attention to the health and fitness industry, pushing more and more to gyms throughout the country.

Valley Fitness Centre, a local gym in Invermere, recently accommodated that ideological shift, increasing its daily hours to be open from 4 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

Helen Breau, executive director at the Valley Fitness Centre, said that the move was made in hopes of leveling out usage during high-peak times.

We have some people that work shift work in our community and we just wanted to be flexible for everyone to use the centre, she said. We hope that it will take some of the stress of those peak times and kind of spread out when people are using the centre.

The Valley Fitness Centre is owned and operated by the Valley Fitness Society, which operates as a non-profit organization. The Fitness Centre has been open at its current location and serving the valley since 1987.

Ms. Breau said that they had been receiving requests for an increasing in opening hours on weekends for a while now and will be able to decrease their staffing times thanks to a new key-tag sign in system implemented earlier this spring. With lower staffing costs, they are able to afford other commodities for the gym.

As a non-profit, its kind of a win so we can reinvest the money in ways that are more helpful, she said.

One of the ways they did this was through spending more than $50,000 on equipment upgrades and additions to the Fitness Centre in the last year. They now boast two interactive expresso bikes that allow users to watch their route onscreen and compete with the biker next to them on the same terrain course.

This upgrade was long overdue, she said.

Some of our equipment was original, she said. Weve been in operation since 1987 so some of it definitely needed to be upgraded.

In addition to replacements, theyve also made additions to the facility to maximize the space they have.

A lot of our pieces are kind of multi-function now whereas before it would be just single use so theres a lot more functionality to the new pieces that we have, she said.

In its first weekend with the expanded hours the gym had 64 visits during the unstaffed hours from Friday July 1st to Sunday July 3rd.

Currently the Fitness Centre is exploring options at expanding the gym given the 25 per cent increase in its membership since 2013. Whether that expansion will come in terms of the second phase of the Columbia Valley Centre or through other additions made to the current facility is not yet known.

For now, increased hours and new equipment will make it easier for members to exercise and use the facility.