the challenge

Yale New Haven Hospital wanted to start a wellness program that would improve the health and happiness of its employees, but it had to be about more than exercise.

The Story

First, Yale New Haven Hospital needed a fitness center, but they knew simply building one wouldn’t attract their sedentary hospital workers.

To engage employees, the facility needed a unique design, strategic programming, and outreach events targeted at behavioral change. It wasn’t just about building a gym; it was about making members feel welcome, relaxed, and comfortable.

“I’ll walk into the fitness center thinking, ‘Give it five minutes and if you still don't feel like it, leave,’” says Kayla R., a Yale New Haven Hospital employee and fitness center member. “I’ve never left after five minutes because the staff motivates you.”

Did You

In its first year, Yale New Haven Hospital’s livingwell Fitness Center attracted nearly 800 members.

the solution

“Fitness center entrances often have sightlines to weight equipment, which can look intimidating. EXOS chose not to do that.”

- Bill Bourque, EXOS president of account management and field operations

To make the space welcoming, EXOS chose calming colors and kept weight equipment away from the entrance.

Events and programming were designed to be about more than fitness. For example, there were lectures on diabetes and nutrition. EXOS also introduced behavioral change and outreach programs like chair yoga sessions and fitness challenges to keep members engaged.

“Challenges help create an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship,” said Maureen K, another hospital employee.

Kayla R. adds, “I’ve learned to appreciate my body, and that’s truly the best feeling.”

When building a new hospital fitness center, every detail matters. A clean and stocked facility puts members at ease.
Open areas without intimidating equipment made the livingwell Fitness Center at Yale New Haven Hospital feel welcoming and comfortable.
Coaches lead group exercise classes that create a friendly, social atmosphere and motivate members to keep coming back.


  • average number of visits to the fitness center yearly 0
  • percentage of members who would recommend the fitness center to a colleague 0
  • number of behavioral change programs and outreach events in the 5 years since opening

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