BENTONVILLE — The first amenity of the new Walmart Home Office opens today.
The Walton Family Holistic Health and Fitness Center, located at 1400 Fifth Street SE in Bentonville, offers a variety of classes, fitness spaces and services to Walmart and Sam’s Club employees and their families.
Megan Henley, director of holistic health and fitness for Walmart, said the new space will replace the Walton Family Life Fitness Center, which closed in December.
“It laid a great foundation for us to take care of our Walmart associates over the past 40 years,” Henry said of the former fitness center. “This is just the next generation that can do this.”
The 360,000-square-foot facility features a wide range of exercise and wellness options, from traditional treadmills and weight rooms to tennis and basketball courts. The wellness area includes yoga and sound bath studios, as well as cryotherapy options in the “rest and recovery” area.
Henry said Walmart took a lot of employee feedback into account when building the space to make sure requirements were met where possible. These include a dedicated swimming pool, squash courts and ongoing childcare through a youth activity centre.
Children 13 years and older can use the fitness facilities with parental supervision, but children 6 months to 12 years old can use the Youth Center, which hosts activities to encourage learning about fitness and holistic health methods.
Holistic health is a perspective that prioritizes physical, mental, and spiritual health. Rather than focusing on one aspect, it integrates all aspects. “Pause, reflect, choose” is a whole wellness philosophy, and the center is teaching classes that encourage mindfulness and presence, Henry said.
“This is a mindfulness meditation practice that we encourage,” she said. “Not only in the way we talk about it and teach people about holistic health, but you’ll see it actually designed into the architecture.”
Henry said some of her favorite central spaces are designed for moments of reflection. These locations typically have ample natural light, greenery, and campus views.
The center takes a similar approach, both architecturally and philosophically, to Heartland Whole Health Institute, which Alice Walton founded in Bentonville in 2019.
Augusta Branham, spokesperson for the institute, said: “We are excited to see this state-of-the-art center open and expand our region’s access to valuable, behavior-changing holistic health programs. “This is a prime example of how a company can have a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of its employees, and thousands of Walmart associates and families will benefit greatly from having this center on campus.”
The Walton Family Holdings Trust invested $225 million in the overall health and fitness center, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.
The building is the first facility on the new 350-acre Interior Department site in the heart of Bentonville. Construction of the headquarters is underway in phases and is expected to be completed in 2025.
Henley said 13,000 people are currently enrolled in Whole Health fitness centers, but she expects more to come as the centers open.
Membership fees are deducted from employees’ wages every two weeks. Salary is $12 for individual members and $21 for family members. Family membership covers spouses or domestic partners and dependents under the age of 26 in the same household.