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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

The year ahead

Will 2015 prove to be a turning point for the fitness and physical activity sector?

By David Stalker, ukactive | Published in Health Club Handbook 2015 issue 1
Yoga and cycling microgyms will continue to pop up on even more high streets / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ Alan Bailey
Yoga and cycling microgyms will continue to pop up on even more high streets / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ Alan Bailey
I expect to see more integration of physical activity within wider public health services

Every year the request from the HCM Handbook editor lands on my desk, calling on me to dust off the crystal ball and lend my thoughts on the year ahead. As regular as the seasons, it’s confirmation that another great year is coming to an end, and once more we can look ahead with optimism to the future of the sector.

Sector overview
So what do I think the future holds?The founding brands of the sector – those major private institutions on which the industry grew in the 1990s – will either have to rediscover a purpose as we have seen with Fitness First, or else drift off into irrelevance. Meanwhile the proliferation of specialists will continue to explode, with yoga hotting up on even more high streets, enterprising PTs going wherever they are needed, and indoor cycling studios charging fees previously only dreamed of by mainstream operators. This brings a highly personalised service that’s hard to match.

The entry to the market of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and the continued success of low-cost operators will keep the heat on any organisation unsure of its purpose and the value it provides to customers. Nonetheless, low-cost operators will reach a crucial point in their history in the UK, where the pressure of continuous growth will be joined by the imperative to retain or implode.

The public sector – spurred on by efficiency drives, enhanced service levels and greater competition – will thrive and drive growth. We will continue to see the growth of the major trusts and management contractors as more local authorities look to the financial comfort and stability that their economies of scale bring. Expect that to mean bad – or at least challenging – news for smaller trusts, who will find it hard to retain their contracts in a straight-out bidding war, with some opting for a peaceful life early by entering into alliances with one of the big boys to ward off their threat.

2015 will also be the year that wearable technology gets a fuel injection, with the release of the Apple Watch heralding the start of the next evolution in the fitness tracking market. Who remembers what happened to MP3 players and digital cameras when mobile phones started getting involved… Will Apple do the same to the competition in this market?

Strategically as a sector we will see the ongoing redefinition of who we are and what we stand for, driven by an understanding that physical health clubs, leisure centres and activity providers are now part of a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy. Embracing this position and understanding our role within it will enable us to dramatically redefine the value and impact of our sector, with a continued growth in its importance to all stakeholders as a result.

Health of the nation
Finally, I remain passionate about the role we can play in improving the health of the nation. That said, within the health community, stakeholders will get even harsher in their appraisals of what we offer: show them your evidence or they’ll show you the door, not only for health contracts but leisure contracts too.

Turning the tide of physical inactivity will take many years, if not decades, to achieve. Nevertheless, in just a single year since we called for a national ambition to tackle inactivity head-on – as a top tier public health priority – we have made remarkable progress. Local authorities have doubled their investment in both cash and in proportion to their other areas of expenditure. Public Health England has responded to the call for a national strategy with the publication of its new national framework Everybody Active, Every Day. Sport England has rebranded its ‘Get Healthy, Get Into Sport Fund’ as ‘Get Healthy, Get Active’, and has allocated greater levels of funding towards it. And organisations the length and breadth of the country have been engaged in trying to understand their role in turning the tide.

Expectation and integration
Yet we have so much still to do. Inactivity rates continue to rise; we’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight. But with increased investment comes increased expectation. Expectation that this investment will make a difference. Expectation that the physical activity sector can step up to the plate and improve health and wellbeing in a measurable way.

I believe the positive steps we’ve taken in the past 12 months have been inhibited by a lack of robust, clinically relevant and academically sound evidence to show the value and importance of what thousands of organisations are delivering every day of the week, in every community in the land. Can we take the next step in raising our game, evidencing our practice and living up to our potential as a key part of the emerging National Wellness Service that local authorities across the country are creating?

As I look to the year ahead, I expect to see even more integration: integration of physical activity services within wider public health services such as NHS Health Checks, smoking cessation and weight management; integration of public health outcomes within existing contracts, such as those for leisure services; greater integration between public health and adult social care, in pursuit of shared outcomes of healthy, independent later life; greater integration between Clinical Commissioning Groups and public health teams in local authorities; and even more integration of public health in wider policy settings such as transport, planning and education.

These are exciting times for anyone with a passion for improving the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. That’s a cause that ukactive has been championing for over 25 years, and one we’ll continue to champion for ever more.

We hope you’ll continue to join us on that journey – as a member, partner, stakeholder or friend.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
We’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight, but the message is getting out about being active every day / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ altanaka
We’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight, but the message is getting out about being active every day / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ altanaka
It’s not just about gyms: There’s a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy / photo: www.shutterstock.com/Halfpoint
It’s not just about gyms: There’s a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy / photo: www.shutterstock.com/Halfpoint
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/493374_521770.jpg
Will 2015 prove to be a turning point for the health and physical activity sector? ukactive CEO David Stalker offers his thoughts
David Stalker, CEO, UKactive,ukactive, David Stalker, 2015, public health, microgyms, low-cost, public sector, wearable technology, Public Health England, inactivity
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This was a year when research helped transformed the gym sector into a serious political force. Two pieces of work stand out in terms of timely impact
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We’ve stepped off the path this month to bring you a special 2020 review edition of HCM and to propose emerging priorities going forward, as we gird our loins to tackle 2021
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How Virtuagym and Thebodycontent created an ecosystem of fitness within a small community
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Sponsored
Technogym introduced live and on-demand functionality to Mywellness in July. Here we find out more about operators who have adopted this solution
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With many older people in crisis due to the pandemic, ukactive’s head of health and wellbeing development, Kenny Butler, explains why the organisation is launching an active ageing consultation and how you can get involved
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Sponsored
Ruskin Fitness Club has transformed its gym in partnership with Technogym, adding the new Excite Live line, as well as dedicated workout zones
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HCM People
I’ve been in the industry for a decade and it’s the first time I’ve seen it truly unified from the top to the bottom
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Supplier showcase
Bulmershe Leisure Centre, run by Places Leisure, is providing its community with state-of-the-art fitness machines from Octane Fitness
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Latest News
Resistance training is just as beneficial for men and women over the age of 50, ...
Latest News
Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities ...
Latest News
A national survey has launched to chart the mental health of the fitness and physical ...
Latest News
One of England's highest ranking police officers has called on government ministers to clearly define ...
Latest News
Virtuagym, a leading provider of fitness technology for gyms and trainers, has announced the launch ...
Latest News
Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling ...
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As the global vaccine rollout brings reopening closer and heralds the end of lockdowns, jostling ...
FREE WEBINAR
promotion
This free webinar on 26 January will see our panellists reflect on the changes to work in 2020, and their priorities for 2021.
Opinion: 2021 is the year to prioritise global culture
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: What does a socially distanced leisure centre and health club look like?
The world has had to get used to social distancing in 2020 and any business operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors has had to face this challenge more than most.
Company profiles
Company profile: Incorpore Limited
Incorpore Ltd is a leading fitness and wellness company which has been successfully delivering solutions ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Gympass
On a mission to defeat inactivity, Gympass is a corporate wellness solution that builds mutually ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Software
Volution.fit: Software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

The year ahead

Will 2015 prove to be a turning point for the fitness and physical activity sector?

By David Stalker, ukactive | Published in Health Club Handbook 2015 issue 1
Yoga and cycling microgyms will continue to pop up on even more high streets / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ Alan Bailey
Yoga and cycling microgyms will continue to pop up on even more high streets / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ Alan Bailey
I expect to see more integration of physical activity within wider public health services

Every year the request from the HCM Handbook editor lands on my desk, calling on me to dust off the crystal ball and lend my thoughts on the year ahead. As regular as the seasons, it’s confirmation that another great year is coming to an end, and once more we can look ahead with optimism to the future of the sector.

Sector overview
So what do I think the future holds?The founding brands of the sector – those major private institutions on which the industry grew in the 1990s – will either have to rediscover a purpose as we have seen with Fitness First, or else drift off into irrelevance. Meanwhile the proliferation of specialists will continue to explode, with yoga hotting up on even more high streets, enterprising PTs going wherever they are needed, and indoor cycling studios charging fees previously only dreamed of by mainstream operators. This brings a highly personalised service that’s hard to match.

The entry to the market of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and the continued success of low-cost operators will keep the heat on any organisation unsure of its purpose and the value it provides to customers. Nonetheless, low-cost operators will reach a crucial point in their history in the UK, where the pressure of continuous growth will be joined by the imperative to retain or implode.

The public sector – spurred on by efficiency drives, enhanced service levels and greater competition – will thrive and drive growth. We will continue to see the growth of the major trusts and management contractors as more local authorities look to the financial comfort and stability that their economies of scale bring. Expect that to mean bad – or at least challenging – news for smaller trusts, who will find it hard to retain their contracts in a straight-out bidding war, with some opting for a peaceful life early by entering into alliances with one of the big boys to ward off their threat.

2015 will also be the year that wearable technology gets a fuel injection, with the release of the Apple Watch heralding the start of the next evolution in the fitness tracking market. Who remembers what happened to MP3 players and digital cameras when mobile phones started getting involved… Will Apple do the same to the competition in this market?

Strategically as a sector we will see the ongoing redefinition of who we are and what we stand for, driven by an understanding that physical health clubs, leisure centres and activity providers are now part of a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy. Embracing this position and understanding our role within it will enable us to dramatically redefine the value and impact of our sector, with a continued growth in its importance to all stakeholders as a result.

Health of the nation
Finally, I remain passionate about the role we can play in improving the health of the nation. That said, within the health community, stakeholders will get even harsher in their appraisals of what we offer: show them your evidence or they’ll show you the door, not only for health contracts but leisure contracts too.

Turning the tide of physical inactivity will take many years, if not decades, to achieve. Nevertheless, in just a single year since we called for a national ambition to tackle inactivity head-on – as a top tier public health priority – we have made remarkable progress. Local authorities have doubled their investment in both cash and in proportion to their other areas of expenditure. Public Health England has responded to the call for a national strategy with the publication of its new national framework Everybody Active, Every Day. Sport England has rebranded its ‘Get Healthy, Get Into Sport Fund’ as ‘Get Healthy, Get Active’, and has allocated greater levels of funding towards it. And organisations the length and breadth of the country have been engaged in trying to understand their role in turning the tide.

Expectation and integration
Yet we have so much still to do. Inactivity rates continue to rise; we’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight. But with increased investment comes increased expectation. Expectation that this investment will make a difference. Expectation that the physical activity sector can step up to the plate and improve health and wellbeing in a measurable way.

I believe the positive steps we’ve taken in the past 12 months have been inhibited by a lack of robust, clinically relevant and academically sound evidence to show the value and importance of what thousands of organisations are delivering every day of the week, in every community in the land. Can we take the next step in raising our game, evidencing our practice and living up to our potential as a key part of the emerging National Wellness Service that local authorities across the country are creating?

As I look to the year ahead, I expect to see even more integration: integration of physical activity services within wider public health services such as NHS Health Checks, smoking cessation and weight management; integration of public health outcomes within existing contracts, such as those for leisure services; greater integration between public health and adult social care, in pursuit of shared outcomes of healthy, independent later life; greater integration between Clinical Commissioning Groups and public health teams in local authorities; and even more integration of public health in wider policy settings such as transport, planning and education.

These are exciting times for anyone with a passion for improving the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. That’s a cause that ukactive has been championing for over 25 years, and one we’ll continue to champion for ever more.

We hope you’ll continue to join us on that journey – as a member, partner, stakeholder or friend.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
We’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight, but the message is getting out about being active every day / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ altanaka
We’re not going to correct a generational slide to sedentary lifestyles overnight, but the message is getting out about being active every day / photo: www.shutterstock.com/ altanaka
It’s not just about gyms: There’s a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy / photo: www.shutterstock.com/Halfpoint
It’s not just about gyms: There’s a wider ecosystem working to get the world fit and healthy / photo: www.shutterstock.com/Halfpoint
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/493374_521770.jpg
Will 2015 prove to be a turning point for the health and physical activity sector? ukactive CEO David Stalker offers his thoughts
David Stalker, CEO, UKactive,ukactive, David Stalker, 2015, public health, microgyms, low-cost, public sector, wearable technology, Public Health England, inactivity
Latest News
Resistance training is just as beneficial for men and women over the age of 50, ...
Latest News
Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities ...
Latest News
A national survey has launched to chart the mental health of the fitness and physical ...
Latest News
One of England's highest ranking police officers has called on government ministers to clearly define ...
Latest News
Virtuagym, a leading provider of fitness technology for gyms and trainers, has announced the launch ...
Latest News
Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling ...
Latest News
As the global vaccine rollout brings reopening closer and heralds the end of lockdowns, jostling ...
Latest News
Less than half (44.9 per cent) of children and young people in England met the ...
Latest News
An England-wide survey of over 5,000 adults found that 80 per cent of people aged ...
Latest News
The government needs to provide the fitness and physical activity sector with a plan which ...
FREE WEBINAR
promotion
This free webinar on 26 January will see our panellists reflect on the changes to work in 2020, and their priorities for 2021.
Opinion: 2021 is the year to prioritise global culture
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: What does a socially distanced leisure centre and health club look like?
The world has had to get used to social distancing in 2020 and any business operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors has had to face this challenge more than most.
Company profiles
Company profile: Incorpore Limited
Incorpore Ltd is a leading fitness and wellness company which has been successfully delivering solutions ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Gympass
On a mission to defeat inactivity, Gympass is a corporate wellness solution that builds mutually ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Software
Volution.fit: Software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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