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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor’s letter: Embracing active design

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 10
Even the so-called ‘hard to reach’ groups all have to use our streets – so that’s where you start getting them active

People should be active every day, with opportunities to do so designed into the very fabric of our environments and our daily lives. That was the clear message of last month’s inspirational Active by Design Summit, organised by the UK’s Design Council. So how might this look in practice, and what does it mean for health club operators?

The event showcased an array of thought-provoking initiatives and brought together experts from a wide range of potentially collaborative fields. Leading architects and local council members alike spoke of the need for cities and streets to be designed with humans, not efficiency or cars, in mind. Active commuting was another topic, with initiatives such as Act Alarm clock grabbing the imagination – an alarm clock that varies the time it wakes you depending on the weather forecast, and whether you’ll therefore be able to walk to work.

Active commuting is an area where we’re already seeing positive initiatives. The Atlanta BeltLine is one great US example (see p73), while in the UK London mayor Boris Johnson has set out plans for two new cycle superhighways running from north to south and east to west London.

But it’s not just about active commuting: as KaBOOM! CEO Darell Hammond urges on page 64, every city needs to be a playground, with play happening everywhere and for everyone. And indeed a handful of speakers at the Summit focused on this. We heard about Pop-Up Parks with active games designed into them. About a new GPS-based, real-world strategy game – Run an Empire – where you ‘own’ areas near you by physically running around them, but where other people can take them off you by doing the same, so you have to run again to claim them back. About StreetGym’s use of street furniture such as bollards and cycle racks for a novel style of workout, and about slides in London and swings in Montreal – for adults. And about a bridge in Reykjavik, Iceland, which is usually lit blue, but where each section turns pink as you step on it; run across it fast and you can turn the whole bridge pink.

If we can make our streets more appealing and even fun to use, we stand a chance of getting many more people active: as Transport for London’s Lucy Saunders pointed out, even the so-called ‘hard to reach’ groups all have to use our streets – so that’s where you start getting them active.

And this is where gym operators need to see the bigger picture. There may be some opportunities to get involved straight away – get your members to play Run an Empire and keep an updated map in the club, for example, or make your outdoor workouts more play-based.

But essentially operators need to understand they’re just one piece in the jigsaw – never have I been clearer on that than after this Summit. If we join the movement to get our cities designed with physical activity in mind, in the long run we may benefit as people reach a level of fitness where they feel ready to try a gym. In the meantime, let’s lead by example and not – as in one photo we were shown at the Summit – have escalators to bring members into our clubs.

Kate Cracknell, editor - [email protected] @HealthClubKate

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https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2014_10editor.jpg
Even so-called hard to reach groups have to use our streets, so that’s where we should start getting them active, says Kate Cracknell
Kate Cracknell, editor,Active by Design, architecture, city, Act Alarm Clock, Transport for London, KaBOOM, Run an Empire, Reykjavik, Kate Cracknell
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features

Editor’s letter: Embracing active design

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 10
Even the so-called ‘hard to reach’ groups all have to use our streets – so that’s where you start getting them active

People should be active every day, with opportunities to do so designed into the very fabric of our environments and our daily lives. That was the clear message of last month’s inspirational Active by Design Summit, organised by the UK’s Design Council. So how might this look in practice, and what does it mean for health club operators?

The event showcased an array of thought-provoking initiatives and brought together experts from a wide range of potentially collaborative fields. Leading architects and local council members alike spoke of the need for cities and streets to be designed with humans, not efficiency or cars, in mind. Active commuting was another topic, with initiatives such as Act Alarm clock grabbing the imagination – an alarm clock that varies the time it wakes you depending on the weather forecast, and whether you’ll therefore be able to walk to work.

Active commuting is an area where we’re already seeing positive initiatives. The Atlanta BeltLine is one great US example (see p73), while in the UK London mayor Boris Johnson has set out plans for two new cycle superhighways running from north to south and east to west London.

But it’s not just about active commuting: as KaBOOM! CEO Darell Hammond urges on page 64, every city needs to be a playground, with play happening everywhere and for everyone. And indeed a handful of speakers at the Summit focused on this. We heard about Pop-Up Parks with active games designed into them. About a new GPS-based, real-world strategy game – Run an Empire – where you ‘own’ areas near you by physically running around them, but where other people can take them off you by doing the same, so you have to run again to claim them back. About StreetGym’s use of street furniture such as bollards and cycle racks for a novel style of workout, and about slides in London and swings in Montreal – for adults. And about a bridge in Reykjavik, Iceland, which is usually lit blue, but where each section turns pink as you step on it; run across it fast and you can turn the whole bridge pink.

If we can make our streets more appealing and even fun to use, we stand a chance of getting many more people active: as Transport for London’s Lucy Saunders pointed out, even the so-called ‘hard to reach’ groups all have to use our streets – so that’s where you start getting them active.

And this is where gym operators need to see the bigger picture. There may be some opportunities to get involved straight away – get your members to play Run an Empire and keep an updated map in the club, for example, or make your outdoor workouts more play-based.

But essentially operators need to understand they’re just one piece in the jigsaw – never have I been clearer on that than after this Summit. If we join the movement to get our cities designed with physical activity in mind, in the long run we may benefit as people reach a level of fitness where they feel ready to try a gym. In the meantime, let’s lead by example and not – as in one photo we were shown at the Summit – have escalators to bring members into our clubs.

Kate Cracknell, editor - [email protected] @HealthClubKate

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2014_10editor.jpg
Even so-called hard to reach groups have to use our streets, so that’s where we should start getting them active, says Kate Cracknell
Kate Cracknell, editor,Active by Design, architecture, city, Act Alarm Clock, Transport for London, KaBOOM, Run an Empire, Reykjavik, Kate Cracknell
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering an exceptional service ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Active IQ
Active IQ is the UK’s leading Ofqual-recognised Awarding Organisation for the Physical Activity sector....
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
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Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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Newport, Shropshire
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
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Diary dates
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Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
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ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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