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The Agora, one of The Collective's three properties. (Image courtesy of The Collective)
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These Navy Yard apartments are trying to make their residents happier and healthier

Of the thousands of residences currently being built around D.C., a huge percentage of them will be in luxury buildings flouting amenities like cushy gyms with new equipment. Often, those spaces go unused - it’s not uncommon to walk through high-end apartment buildings and see nearly-untouched workout equipment.

It may be convenient distance from your front door, but in some buildings there’s a distinct sense of discomfort that comes with using your building’s gym. There’s just something weird about being the only person dripping sweat on a Stair Master while your neighbors walk past.

I was invited to stay at The Collective apartments in Navy Yard to see what it has to offer and I was surprised to see people actually using their gym at 6:30 on a Wednesday night - and it wasn’t just a lone jogger on a treadmill. Later on, I learned I’d just missed The Collective’s purportedly well-attended weekly yoga class.

Instead, I went to a cooking demonstration hosted by The Collective in their Agora building, which is also connected to the brand-new Whole Foods. The class wasn’t exactly focused on healthy fare - the lucky attendees who managed to avoid the waitlist learned how to make pies from the owners of Pie Sisters. However, the people attending with me were friendly and happy to chat about pie, the drinks being served and the sudden onslaught of cold weather - typical neighborly chatter.

When I was at The Collective’s gym the next morning, I saw people from the pie class working out and it became clear why people are using their wellness facilities; by fostering a sense of inclusion and community, The Collective has made the use of communal spaces less weird.

Wellness isn’t just hitting the gym- it’s about actively working to feel good on every level. When the focus shifts away from just workout space to wellness, the outcome is different- and The Collective gives their residents many opportunities to be well.

As far as communal activities go, The Collective is tough to beat. In addition to yoga classes, the collective also offers a full-blown peloton studio, which is great for grabbing friends to workout with. If you want to be physically active but focus more on fun, residents can book a space in their golf simulator.

There’s also plenty to do solo - like laps in the indoor pool or, my personal favorite, laying in their hydrotherapy chairs and letting warm jets of water rub the tension out of your muscles. However, once that invisible barrier of ‘no one uses those communal spaces so I shouldn’t either’ is broken, even going alone becomes a lot more fun.

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