Unhealthy lifestyles are having a toll on many people, with some losing their jobs for spending more time in hospital than at work. This appears to have been the inspiration of Japheth Amimo three years ago to set up Pro-wellness Solutions, a fitness centre that serves corporates and individuals.
It takes more than a keen eye to notice that some workers are unable to deliver because unfitness. Think of the typical work station set-up of top executives, for example following up clients at the comfort of the office, working hard attending round table meetings that would take hours on end, sending emails, making phone calls..and so on. At the end of the day you are exhausted. Mr Amimo says there would be no back pains or exhaustion at work if we kept our bodies fit.
Mr Amimo has 20 years of experience in fitness, having served as health Club Manager at Serena Hotels and recently with the United Nations recreation centre. His plans to start a business became a reality in 2011 when he poured Ksh3 million from his personal savings into the venture.
“We’ve done a lot,” he says. “I thought I should give it a shot when I still have the energy. I had kind of done my bit on employment and itching to try my hands on entrepreneurship before I hit 50.”
The firm offers ergonomic assessments, where employees are trained on how to eliminate risks and maintain a safe work environment, nutrition plans, blood pressure screenings, exercise and fitness, injury prevention, on-site massage and back care. He says having a wellness programme for the organisation is a smart investment one can make because it cuts medical costs and increases production.
He says returns can be as high as 1:6, meaning for every one shilling invested in a wellness programme you get a return of six. Apart from the World Bank and Swedish Embassy, some of his corporate clients include AON Insurance, Gertrude’s Hospital, Equity Bank, Kenya Revenue Authority, TNS and Case Medical Centre in Kampala, Uganda. In partnership enabled by Friends of Karura, it has set up an open gym at the Sigiria Block, just off Thigiri ridge (towards Gigiri).
It is an open area that can be fun especially for nature lovers. Unlike the Loresho Crescent, the Boot Camp at Karura Forest aims at giving people a break from indoor gym workouts. It is for those who embrace team-work and target agility, cardio and strength training.
“What people need is fitness. The concept is totally new. It is within the forest in Gigiri,” he says. “For corporates, we charge Ksh10,000 per session for a minimum of 10 people. But it becomes cheaper when participants are many,” he says.
Corporata Wellness programme
Wellness Solutions has the Corporate Wellness Programme where employees can enjoy massage services at their work place. This is a welcome relief for workers who experience the effects of occupational stress and sit for long periods.“We charge Ksh600 per person but we need a minimum of 10 people. It’s a 10 to 15 minutes massage … to make the blood flow,” he says. But at a time when most wellness centres particularly spas are run by women, you must wonder whether it is a smooth ride for a guy.
Mr Amimo says it has its ups and downs. When it first opened its first branch, business picked up but things slowed down during the 2013 elections. “In Kenya it is not mandatory to have a wellness programme. But overall there’s a lot of potential for it. In the next five years we will be at the forefront of wellness in the country,” says Mr Amimo.
He says focus should be more on services rather than on who does the therapy. “Women have a softer spot but our masseuses are equally good,” he says.