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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Policy: Fitness to wellbeing

Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 1
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The industry should change from being focused on fitness and mostly working in real estate, to being a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or level of health, wherever is needed

Before COVID, we were preparing an article for HCM called the Inverse Gym Law. This was based on a famous article published in The Lancet fifty years ago called the Inverse Care Law in which the author, the late Julian Tudor Hart, demonstrated that the volume and quality of healthcare was inversely related to need.

Our argument was that the fitness industry is also delivering a service that is inversely related to the potential for benefit.

Most of the people working with trainers and using gyms and fitness centres are young people, whereas the benefit that can be obtained from these resources increases with every decade of life that passes.

This is because the fitness gap opens up for most people in their early twenties when they get their first job – usually a sitting job – and their first car and that gap grows progressively wider until it reaches a point when it means the individual will drop below what has been called The Line, namely the level of ability where they can no longer carry out crucial tasks such as getting to the toilet in time.

The complicating factor is that the normal biological ageing process – which by itself does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s – does reduce resilience. This means that with each decade that goes by, fitness and ability are lost faster and are more difficult to recover.

However the evidence is clear that people of any age, no matter how many long-term conditions they may have, can close the fitness gap if they undertake the right exercise regime.

Although deprivation remains a huge problem, many older people are well off financially and so – pre-pandemic – represented an untapped market for the fitness industry, but then along came COVID-19.

Learning from the pandemic
Older people are at greater risk from coronavirus infection and for this reason are advised to practice what was initially called socially distancing – namely to avoid interaction with other, younger people, although it was emphasised in the prime minister’s first speech that getting out for exercise was very important.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on older people in terms of fatalities, particularly in care homes, but what has emerged – more importantly – is the impact of lockdown on their health and this has been called the deconditioning pandemic, or the second pandemic.

The impact of this deconditioning is dramatically revealed in recent reports by AgeUK and the Centre for Ageing Better. One quarter of older people cannot walk as far and one fifth feel less steady on their feet and there have also been huge psychological impacts in terms of isolation and depression, which are both risk factors for dementia.

The need for reconditioning
Evidence shows people can regain lost ability, no matter their age or the number of conditions they have, but how can this reconditioning be brought about?

Social care bears a great burden as a result of deconditioning among older people, but is prevented from taking action by the current ‘culture of care’, which to most people means doing things FOR others.

This approach was laid down in 1948 in the National Assistance Act, which made it clear that younger people with special needs, “the crippled, deaf, dumb and blind”, needed education to overcome their difficulties, whereas the aged simply needed ‘practical assistance”, either at home or in care homes.

As a result, a culture developed which assumed that every problem was due to ageing and could be solved by just doing things for people.

Persistent culture
The Social Care Act of 2014 was much more enlightened and Section 2 emphasises the need to prevent the need for social care, but the culture has not changed.

The NHS is, by definition, a health service but in practice it is a National Disease Service and of course it has a vitally important role to play in, for example, treating stroke and providing joint replacement – two examples of the miracles of the second healthcare revolution – the high-tech revolution. The first being the Public Health Revolution of the 19th century.

With additional problems posed by COVID-19, it’s unlikely the NHS will be able to rise to the challenge of reconditioning the elderly, which should actually be the first step in the development of a completely different approach and culture to help people live longer, better and have a shorter period of multi-morbidity and dependency at the end of life.

The opportunity
In a major project organised by the Oxfordshire Activity Partnership, seventeen Active Partnerships are working towards a common set of objectives to help people live longer, better and to change the culture from a culture of care to a culture of enablement – or perhaps we could even use the term coaching – based on a definition of coaching as being activities to help people close the gap between potential and performance.

The key workforce are PTs and this means that the sector formerly known as the fitness industry is playing a key role in promoting wellbeing.

The term fitness of course is an accurate term, but it is so deeply associated with younger people that to change the culture it is better to use another term, and wellbeing is probably the single best term to use.

I believe the industry should change its brand from being a fitness industry, mostly working in real estate, to a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or any level of health, either individually or in groups – online as well as in buildings.

Muir Gray is director of the optimal ageing programme at Oxford, a member of Active Oxfordshire and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Opinion: Kenny Butler – ukactive

Gyms, pools and leisure centres are essential places for the health and wellbeing of older adults, where they achieve not only greater physical activity levels, but also improved social connections, generating health, economic and social value.

The industry has proven these places are COVID-secure and that they’re more important than ever in this new chapter in the fight against COVID-19.

These places deliver 66 per cent of cancer rehabilitation and all the nation’s GP Exercise on Referral services. They’re also where 17.1m people reach the recommended levels of activity each week – second only to walking.

The industry now has a partnership with NHS England through social prescribing, and has put itself forward to help with the backlog of rehabilitation for elective surgeries and other rehabilitation needs in an ever-growing deconditioning crisis.

This industry is an essential service in the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as enhancing the physical and mental health of the nation.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/718719_859199.jpg
Muir Gray argues the industry needs a change of focus to optimise its potential
Muir Grey, ageing, optimal ageing programme, Kenny Butler, ukactive,wellbeing, fitness
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Policing the rules, even if it means losing members, will be crucial to building trust as health clubs reopen, Paul Roberts tells Kath Hudson
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Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
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Editor's letter
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Promotion
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Ask an expert
In spite of having met all government-agreed, COVID-secure operating standards, group exercise has had a rough ride during the pandemic, being closed more than gyms. HCM asks why this is and what can be done about it
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Latest News
The FIT Summit has unveiled the final shortlists for the 2021 Fitness & Wellness Awards ...
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Basic-Fit lost 10 per cent of its members during Q1 2021, as 94 per cent ...
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A bid to engage politicians in exercise has inspired the launch of a new global ...
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The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has moved its Annual International Convention & ...
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Undertaking regular physical activity could cut the risk of dying from infectious diseases – such ...
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Outdoor workouts have become increasingly popular over the past year, as pandemic lockdowns – and ...
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Featured supplier news: Precor supports Aneurin Leisure Trust in three-site refurbishment
Welsh leisure trust, Aneurin Leisure (ALT), has announced it’s forging ahead with a £600,000 (US$821,000, €696,000) gym refurbishment in all three of its leisure centres.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: iFit: your readymade omnichannel fitness solution
With gyms and leisure centres in England reopened, and the rest of the UK due to shortly follow suit, the time for being theoretical is over.
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Exercise equipment
Pendex Fisio S.L.: Exercise equipment
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Hillingdon
Hillingdon Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Policy: Fitness to wellbeing

Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 1
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The industry should change from being focused on fitness and mostly working in real estate, to being a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or level of health, wherever is needed

Before COVID, we were preparing an article for HCM called the Inverse Gym Law. This was based on a famous article published in The Lancet fifty years ago called the Inverse Care Law in which the author, the late Julian Tudor Hart, demonstrated that the volume and quality of healthcare was inversely related to need.

Our argument was that the fitness industry is also delivering a service that is inversely related to the potential for benefit.

Most of the people working with trainers and using gyms and fitness centres are young people, whereas the benefit that can be obtained from these resources increases with every decade of life that passes.

This is because the fitness gap opens up for most people in their early twenties when they get their first job – usually a sitting job – and their first car and that gap grows progressively wider until it reaches a point when it means the individual will drop below what has been called The Line, namely the level of ability where they can no longer carry out crucial tasks such as getting to the toilet in time.

The complicating factor is that the normal biological ageing process – which by itself does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s – does reduce resilience. This means that with each decade that goes by, fitness and ability are lost faster and are more difficult to recover.

However the evidence is clear that people of any age, no matter how many long-term conditions they may have, can close the fitness gap if they undertake the right exercise regime.

Although deprivation remains a huge problem, many older people are well off financially and so – pre-pandemic – represented an untapped market for the fitness industry, but then along came COVID-19.

Learning from the pandemic
Older people are at greater risk from coronavirus infection and for this reason are advised to practice what was initially called socially distancing – namely to avoid interaction with other, younger people, although it was emphasised in the prime minister’s first speech that getting out for exercise was very important.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on older people in terms of fatalities, particularly in care homes, but what has emerged – more importantly – is the impact of lockdown on their health and this has been called the deconditioning pandemic, or the second pandemic.

The impact of this deconditioning is dramatically revealed in recent reports by AgeUK and the Centre for Ageing Better. One quarter of older people cannot walk as far and one fifth feel less steady on their feet and there have also been huge psychological impacts in terms of isolation and depression, which are both risk factors for dementia.

The need for reconditioning
Evidence shows people can regain lost ability, no matter their age or the number of conditions they have, but how can this reconditioning be brought about?

Social care bears a great burden as a result of deconditioning among older people, but is prevented from taking action by the current ‘culture of care’, which to most people means doing things FOR others.

This approach was laid down in 1948 in the National Assistance Act, which made it clear that younger people with special needs, “the crippled, deaf, dumb and blind”, needed education to overcome their difficulties, whereas the aged simply needed ‘practical assistance”, either at home or in care homes.

As a result, a culture developed which assumed that every problem was due to ageing and could be solved by just doing things for people.

Persistent culture
The Social Care Act of 2014 was much more enlightened and Section 2 emphasises the need to prevent the need for social care, but the culture has not changed.

The NHS is, by definition, a health service but in practice it is a National Disease Service and of course it has a vitally important role to play in, for example, treating stroke and providing joint replacement – two examples of the miracles of the second healthcare revolution – the high-tech revolution. The first being the Public Health Revolution of the 19th century.

With additional problems posed by COVID-19, it’s unlikely the NHS will be able to rise to the challenge of reconditioning the elderly, which should actually be the first step in the development of a completely different approach and culture to help people live longer, better and have a shorter period of multi-morbidity and dependency at the end of life.

The opportunity
In a major project organised by the Oxfordshire Activity Partnership, seventeen Active Partnerships are working towards a common set of objectives to help people live longer, better and to change the culture from a culture of care to a culture of enablement – or perhaps we could even use the term coaching – based on a definition of coaching as being activities to help people close the gap between potential and performance.

The key workforce are PTs and this means that the sector formerly known as the fitness industry is playing a key role in promoting wellbeing.

The term fitness of course is an accurate term, but it is so deeply associated with younger people that to change the culture it is better to use another term, and wellbeing is probably the single best term to use.

I believe the industry should change its brand from being a fitness industry, mostly working in real estate, to a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or any level of health, either individually or in groups – online as well as in buildings.

Muir Gray is director of the optimal ageing programme at Oxford, a member of Active Oxfordshire and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Opinion: Kenny Butler – ukactive

Gyms, pools and leisure centres are essential places for the health and wellbeing of older adults, where they achieve not only greater physical activity levels, but also improved social connections, generating health, economic and social value.

The industry has proven these places are COVID-secure and that they’re more important than ever in this new chapter in the fight against COVID-19.

These places deliver 66 per cent of cancer rehabilitation and all the nation’s GP Exercise on Referral services. They’re also where 17.1m people reach the recommended levels of activity each week – second only to walking.

The industry now has a partnership with NHS England through social prescribing, and has put itself forward to help with the backlog of rehabilitation for elective surgeries and other rehabilitation needs in an ever-growing deconditioning crisis.

This industry is an essential service in the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as enhancing the physical and mental health of the nation.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/718719_859199.jpg
Muir Gray argues the industry needs a change of focus to optimise its potential
Muir Grey, ageing, optimal ageing programme, Kenny Butler, ukactive,wellbeing, fitness
Latest News
The FIT Summit has unveiled the final shortlists for the 2021 Fitness & Wellness Awards ...
Latest News
Basic-Fit lost 10 per cent of its members during Q1 2021, as 94 per cent ...
Latest News
A bid to engage politicians in exercise has inspired the launch of a new global ...
Latest News
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has moved its Annual International Convention & ...
Latest News
Undertaking regular physical activity could cut the risk of dying from infectious diseases – such ...
Latest News
PureGym saw its group-wide revenue decline by £177m during 2020, as it lost 37 per ...
Latest News
Outdoor workouts have become increasingly popular over the past year, as pandemic lockdowns – and ...
Latest News
Wyre Council in Lancashire has revealed plans to begin charging PTs and fitness instructors for ...
Latest News
Health clubs and gyms will be able to open their doors to individual training sessions ...
Latest News
As health clubs and gyms reopen following lockdowns, it is "absolutely crucial" operators take a ...
Latest News
IHRSA and Fitness Brasil say they have signed a partnership agreement that will see the ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Precor supports Aneurin Leisure Trust in three-site refurbishment
Welsh leisure trust, Aneurin Leisure (ALT), has announced it’s forging ahead with a £600,000 (US$821,000, €696,000) gym refurbishment in all three of its leisure centres.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: iFit: your readymade omnichannel fitness solution
With gyms and leisure centres in England reopened, and the rest of the UK due to shortly follow suit, the time for being theoretical is over.
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Exercise equipment
Pendex Fisio S.L.: Exercise equipment
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Hillingdon
Hillingdon Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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