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Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 7

We must train PTs to support members grappling with mental health challenges

Greg Slade
Greg Slade
Greg Slade,

Head of health and fitness,

The Training Room


Your article: ‘Should we prescribe exercise for depression?’ in the May 2018 edition of Health Club Management was an interesting read.

The growing numbers of people suffering from mental health issues cannot be ignored and we must work in partnership with the health sector and GPs to tackle this issue head on.

We recently carried out our own research into the changing role of PTs and the results were revealing in relation to mental health.

More than 55 per cent of the PTs we questioned reported that they are seeing more clients approach them with mental health concerns caused by work-related stress and financial worries.

A further 78 per cent of PTs reported that they are spending up to five hours a week responding to clients’ messages and giving them help and advice outside their paid-for one-to-one sessions.

The fitness industry is becoming more diverse, with a strong shift towards overall wellness, as this feedback from our graduates indicates.

These changes in client needs will require PTs to demonstrate greater levels of emotional intelligence and empathy and, as educators, we’ll be working with graduates and operators to ensure PTs have the skills and confidence needed to manage and work with clients with mental health concerns.

It’s good to see PTs making a genuine impact on the health and wellbeing of clients.

“ More than 55 per cent of the PTs we questioned reported that they are seeing more clients approach them with mental health concerns caused by work-related stress and financial worries ”

PTs must develop greater levels of emotional intelligence, says Greg Slade, in response to an article in HCM May 2018 (below) / PHOTO: COURTESY OF LES MILLS
PTs must develop greater levels of emotional intelligence, says Greg Slade, in response to an article in HCM May 2018 (below) / PHOTO: COURTESY OF LES MILLS

Sport England survey shows group exercise is now more popular than running or swimming, providing opportunity for operators

Ross Perriam
Ross Perriam
Ross Perriam,

Chief executive,

EMD UK


The significant growth in group exercise is fantastic news for the industry. It ensures more employment opportunities for instructors and provides leisure operators with a wider range of options to engage and retain members.

The versatility of group exercise, and its increasing popularity, enables operators to expand their class timetables, providing a broader offering of classes for members of all ages and fitness levels.

Within the sector, we’ve anecdotally known there has been a growth in group exercise in recent years, but it’s the verification of this increase from the Sport England Active Lives research that’s likely to be a wake-up call for operators.

In such a competitive sector, having a high quality, varied group exercise offering can be a real differentiator for operators and increasingly it is what the market is demanding.

Along with having a strong class timetable, the quality of instructors has never been more important. Classes are only as good as the people that teach them, and we hope that these findings will reinforce the importance of employing well qualified instructors with good emotional intelligence, and then recognising and rewarding those that provide an outstanding service and keep members coming back week after week.

The EMD UK training academy offers a broad range of qualifications which provide instructors with industry-approved qualifications throughout their careers. With increased popularity in group exercise comes increased demand for instructors, and we’re proud to play a key part in helping instructors capitalise on the demand and pursue a lifelong career in the fitness industry, inspiring the people that they teach along the way.

“ We’ve noticed a growth in group exercise in recent years, but the verification of this from the Active Lives research is likely to be a wake-up call for operators”

The growing popularity of group exercise is a wakeup call for operators, says Ross Perriam / PHOTO: COURTESY OF LES MILLS
The growing popularity of group exercise is a wakeup call for operators, says Ross Perriam / PHOTO: COURTESY OF LES MILLS
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We must train PTs to support members with mental health issues, says The Training Room’s Greg Slade
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