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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Katy Bowman

In her latest book, Movement Matters, biomechanist and author Katy Bowman argues we are continually evolving to move less, as well as further from nature. Kath Hudson finds out more

By Kath Hudson | Published in Leisure Management 2018 issue 1
Katy Bowman
Katy Bowman
Our possessions often present a physical barrier to getting what we need. I’ve got rid of most of my furniture – we use futons to help improve the mobility of our knees and hips

I’ve had a few startling revelations since speaking to Katy Bowman about how the innocuous choices we make on a daily basis are leading to the human race becoming increasingly sedentary and further divorced from nature.

Indeed, the more affluent we become, the worse it seems to get. We spend most of our lives in insulated boxes or heated moving boxes. The super-wealthy are even asking for beaches to be carpeted so as not to get sand on their feet (see interview with Aaron Simpson from Quintessentially on page 32).

Despite being an amateur triathlete, I was shocked to realise I fall into the active but sedentary category. I train four times a week, but spend about eight hours a day sitting down at a computer, and on an average day I only walk about 5,000 steps.

“Maybe you walk a lot or ride your bike every day, but the latest research shows you can be actively sedentary,” says Bowman. “If you exercise an hour a day, seven days a week – and who does? – your total movement time equals 420 minutes, out of a possible 10,080. About 4 per cent of your time.

“The other 96 per cent of your weekly minutes is spent the same way as the non-exercisers: in the same home furniture, in the same office chair, staring at the computer screen, with arms and necks frozen, wearing the same geometry-altering footwear.”

Our lifestyle habits have changed, but our physiology is the same as it was in our hunter/gatherer days and Bowman says we should still be walking more and doing a range of movements, like squatting, climbing and using our arms.

“Our bodies don’t need seven hours of exercise a week. They need more like eight hours of movement a day, approximately 3,000 minutes a week,” she says. “Hunter/gatherers would have engaged in about 10 times as much movement, which makes a huge difference when it comes to the strength of a tissue like bone. Our lack of movement is causing muscles, bones and cells to starve.”

Nutritious movement
Bowman says that although we have come to realise the importance of a varied and nutritious diet, there is a lack awareness of the need for varied movement, or what she calls nutritious movement. “People need to eat a huge variety of movement nutrients and need to eat them way more often,” she says.

“Most people aren’t getting the full spectrum of movement nutrition necessary for human function. Some of the signals of a poor movement diet could be diseases like osteoporosis, bad knee or backs, frequent headaches, pelvic floor problems, or digestive issues. The chances are people are either lacking movement nutrition entirely, or they are eating a ton of movement oranges; meaning they use the same types of exercise moves over and over again and have never reached for the movement equivalent of a kale salad. We need as much variety in our movement diet as we do in our food.”

One of the reasons this is happening is because of the societal move to outsource everyday movements. Deciding to hire a gardener, or a cleaner – frequently to free us up for more desk-based work – might be a conscious decision, but many of our outsourcing movement decisions are made unconsciously.

Bowman cites electronic car keys as an example. “To avoid moving around a car to unlock it, or avoid turning our wrists, we have accepted plastic (future landfill) and a battery,” she says. “Making these car keys has required other humans, elsewhere in the world, to labour, extract resources from the earth and sometimes even wage war. Without us even realising it, sedentarism is linked to consumerism, materialism, colonialism and destruction of the planet. In order to move less, we are expecting someone else to move for us.”

“Apples are another example. By coring and slicing apples for my nine-year-old son, I have unwittingly been contributing to another negative trend. In 2014, Americans ate 511 million sliced apples, which is driving the food industry to focus on pre-sliced, treated and packaged apples, which are more expensive, less healthy, not natural, and have negative repercussions for the environment in terms of the packaging and the fuel used to manufacture the packaging. My son has been told to start working his jaw.”

Processed movement
Obesity and inactivity are the biggest health crises of our time, which could put the NHS out of business. Exercise professionals believe they have the answer and the gym industry is chomping at the bit to partner the NHS in helping people to be more active and lose weight. However, Bowman believes that exercise for the sake of exercise and repetitive movements in a gym aren’t sufficient to maintain a healthy body.

She says that this is the movement equivalent of processed food.

“Our response to all this lack of movement indoors is to eat fewer calories and boost the intensity of our one hour of exercise,” Bowman says. “But we should be focusing instead on creating a movement-rich life.

“It’s vitally important to your health, down to the cellular level, that you use your body in as many ways as you can, for as much of the time as you can: get a standing desk, walk to work, sit on the floor instead of the couch. Of special importance are those movements we’d be using a lot were we were still living as hunter/gatherers, like walking for miles, squatting, climbing trees and using your arms for something other than typing. These movements which have been natural to humans for thousands of years, are essential to physical processes like digestion and circulation.”

As well as moving more of our bodies, more often, Bowman says we need to be spending more time outdoors. Getting outside, in nature, has crucial health benefits according to Bowman, who sends her two small children to an outdoor school.

“Light, vitamin D and distance-looking are all aspects of being outside,” she says. “Dirt and fresh air are good for the body, as are varying temperatures and interaction with phytoncides, the airborne chemicals emitted from plants to protect them from rotting. Like trees, our bodies adapt to the environment and currently they are adapting to an indoors, seated environment where we look at something two feet away.”

Stacking your life
It might seem hard to find the time to be outside, as well as doing everything else we need to do in a day, so Bowman has come up with a concept called “stacking”, or meeting multiple needs with one activity. Walking while making your work phone calls is stacking – although she points out that you should be walking within work time, not making work phone calls during down time in nature.

Active commuting is stacking. Doing something outside with the family scores very highly in the stacking stakes, especially if it involves foraging for the evening’s dinner. Shopping ethically and locally is stacking. Something as simple as eating outdoors is stacking because you’re removing the need for heating and lighting, you’re looking into the distance and experiencing nature. However, exercise in the gym is unstacked movement as it only uses movement to improve one part of our lives, our physical structure and health.

“Going for a 30-minute walk to strengthen your muscles and burn some calories is an example of exercise,” says Bowman. “But walking a mile to the store to pick up something for dinner is an example of movement. They use muscles in the same way, but there is a big-picture difference regarding how biological needs are being met.”

Bowman argues that the affluent ailments affecting our society, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis, have been brought about by our attempt to live outside of nature. We live inside walls which limit how far we can see, chairs which prevent our hips and knees from bending all the way to get us to the floor, and thermostats which keep our body temperature at a constant, with no physiological work involved.

Added to this, Bowman says that there are entire categories of movement missing from the list of recommended exercises for health, which is why exercisers, couch potatoes and manual laborers who do a lot of repetitive movement are all prone to the same diseases, joint replacements and need to take the same medication. They are all engaging in limited motions of exercise, for a limited period of time, which will not solve the problems created by our sedentary lifestyles.

Outside the box
So, is there anything the health and fitness industry can do to help? “Health and fitness providers could help by presenting exercise in a broader context of movement,” says Bowman. “Teaching the difference between movement and exercise, clearly stating that it’s not only exercise we need, but all-day movement. The exercises they teach can help prepare people for more varied movement.”

Health and fitness operators need to think outside of the box. They need to make sure they are offering enough choices for people to move in a range of ways and also educating them about the importance of doing so and making sure they have a varied (nutritious) programme of exercise.

As well as encouraging members to think about being active all day – active commuting, taking desk breaks to move and walking while making phone calls – gym owners could be getting their members outside more, for example with group exercise classes in the park, walking or running groups, or urban fitness classes such as StreetGym.

Activities such as yoga and pilates incorporate a wide range of movement and there is also a growing trend in the US for classes that incorporate a range of natural movements, such as MovNat, Animal Flow and the Ido Portal Method.

Finally, Bowman explains why it helps to have less stuff: “We have mistakenly equated getting more stuff with meaning that we are getting more out of life, but our possessions often present a physical barrier to getting the essentials we require. I have got rid of most of the furniture in my home – chairs and sofas, dining room chairs. We have a low table to eat from and the sprung bed has been replaced with a futon, in order to help improve the mobility of our knees, hips and ankles.

“We need more movement, more awareness, more nature, more time with family and friends, more time in nature with family and friends,” she says. “We need to minimise the stuff in our lives, but maximise our natural structure, to create a robust body, within a robust community, within a less taxed environment.”

Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors / shutterstock
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors / shutterstock
Running outside instead of on a treadmill has the added benefits of fresh air, vitamin D, interaction with phytoncides and distance-looking / shutterstock
Running outside instead of on a treadmill has the added benefits of fresh air, vitamin D, interaction with phytoncides and distance-looking / shutterstock
Animal Flow founder Mick Fitch teaches varied movements
Animal Flow founder Mick Fitch teaches varied movements
It’s important to use a body in as many ways as possible, Bowman says
It’s important to use a body in as many ways as possible, Bowman says
Yoga, pilates and natural movement classes incorporate a wider range of movement than other gym activities
Yoga, pilates and natural movement classes incorporate a wider range of movement than other gym activities
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/36056_223583.png
In her latest book, the biomechanist and author explains why we need to widen our spectrum of movement and connect with our inner hunter-gatherer
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Featured supplier: The unmissable independent fitness event is back!
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The modern training gym champions functional fitness in a small group personal training model, with a premium service experience at its heart
Opinion: Overcome membership attrition with this surprising new industry trend: the modern training gym
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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features

Katy Bowman

In her latest book, Movement Matters, biomechanist and author Katy Bowman argues we are continually evolving to move less, as well as further from nature. Kath Hudson finds out more

By Kath Hudson | Published in Leisure Management 2018 issue 1
Katy Bowman
Katy Bowman
Our possessions often present a physical barrier to getting what we need. I’ve got rid of most of my furniture – we use futons to help improve the mobility of our knees and hips

I’ve had a few startling revelations since speaking to Katy Bowman about how the innocuous choices we make on a daily basis are leading to the human race becoming increasingly sedentary and further divorced from nature.

Indeed, the more affluent we become, the worse it seems to get. We spend most of our lives in insulated boxes or heated moving boxes. The super-wealthy are even asking for beaches to be carpeted so as not to get sand on their feet (see interview with Aaron Simpson from Quintessentially on page 32).

Despite being an amateur triathlete, I was shocked to realise I fall into the active but sedentary category. I train four times a week, but spend about eight hours a day sitting down at a computer, and on an average day I only walk about 5,000 steps.

“Maybe you walk a lot or ride your bike every day, but the latest research shows you can be actively sedentary,” says Bowman. “If you exercise an hour a day, seven days a week – and who does? – your total movement time equals 420 minutes, out of a possible 10,080. About 4 per cent of your time.

“The other 96 per cent of your weekly minutes is spent the same way as the non-exercisers: in the same home furniture, in the same office chair, staring at the computer screen, with arms and necks frozen, wearing the same geometry-altering footwear.”

Our lifestyle habits have changed, but our physiology is the same as it was in our hunter/gatherer days and Bowman says we should still be walking more and doing a range of movements, like squatting, climbing and using our arms.

“Our bodies don’t need seven hours of exercise a week. They need more like eight hours of movement a day, approximately 3,000 minutes a week,” she says. “Hunter/gatherers would have engaged in about 10 times as much movement, which makes a huge difference when it comes to the strength of a tissue like bone. Our lack of movement is causing muscles, bones and cells to starve.”

Nutritious movement
Bowman says that although we have come to realise the importance of a varied and nutritious diet, there is a lack awareness of the need for varied movement, or what she calls nutritious movement. “People need to eat a huge variety of movement nutrients and need to eat them way more often,” she says.

“Most people aren’t getting the full spectrum of movement nutrition necessary for human function. Some of the signals of a poor movement diet could be diseases like osteoporosis, bad knee or backs, frequent headaches, pelvic floor problems, or digestive issues. The chances are people are either lacking movement nutrition entirely, or they are eating a ton of movement oranges; meaning they use the same types of exercise moves over and over again and have never reached for the movement equivalent of a kale salad. We need as much variety in our movement diet as we do in our food.”

One of the reasons this is happening is because of the societal move to outsource everyday movements. Deciding to hire a gardener, or a cleaner – frequently to free us up for more desk-based work – might be a conscious decision, but many of our outsourcing movement decisions are made unconsciously.

Bowman cites electronic car keys as an example. “To avoid moving around a car to unlock it, or avoid turning our wrists, we have accepted plastic (future landfill) and a battery,” she says. “Making these car keys has required other humans, elsewhere in the world, to labour, extract resources from the earth and sometimes even wage war. Without us even realising it, sedentarism is linked to consumerism, materialism, colonialism and destruction of the planet. In order to move less, we are expecting someone else to move for us.”

“Apples are another example. By coring and slicing apples for my nine-year-old son, I have unwittingly been contributing to another negative trend. In 2014, Americans ate 511 million sliced apples, which is driving the food industry to focus on pre-sliced, treated and packaged apples, which are more expensive, less healthy, not natural, and have negative repercussions for the environment in terms of the packaging and the fuel used to manufacture the packaging. My son has been told to start working his jaw.”

Processed movement
Obesity and inactivity are the biggest health crises of our time, which could put the NHS out of business. Exercise professionals believe they have the answer and the gym industry is chomping at the bit to partner the NHS in helping people to be more active and lose weight. However, Bowman believes that exercise for the sake of exercise and repetitive movements in a gym aren’t sufficient to maintain a healthy body.

She says that this is the movement equivalent of processed food.

“Our response to all this lack of movement indoors is to eat fewer calories and boost the intensity of our one hour of exercise,” Bowman says. “But we should be focusing instead on creating a movement-rich life.

“It’s vitally important to your health, down to the cellular level, that you use your body in as many ways as you can, for as much of the time as you can: get a standing desk, walk to work, sit on the floor instead of the couch. Of special importance are those movements we’d be using a lot were we were still living as hunter/gatherers, like walking for miles, squatting, climbing trees and using your arms for something other than typing. These movements which have been natural to humans for thousands of years, are essential to physical processes like digestion and circulation.”

As well as moving more of our bodies, more often, Bowman says we need to be spending more time outdoors. Getting outside, in nature, has crucial health benefits according to Bowman, who sends her two small children to an outdoor school.

“Light, vitamin D and distance-looking are all aspects of being outside,” she says. “Dirt and fresh air are good for the body, as are varying temperatures and interaction with phytoncides, the airborne chemicals emitted from plants to protect them from rotting. Like trees, our bodies adapt to the environment and currently they are adapting to an indoors, seated environment where we look at something two feet away.”

Stacking your life
It might seem hard to find the time to be outside, as well as doing everything else we need to do in a day, so Bowman has come up with a concept called “stacking”, or meeting multiple needs with one activity. Walking while making your work phone calls is stacking – although she points out that you should be walking within work time, not making work phone calls during down time in nature.

Active commuting is stacking. Doing something outside with the family scores very highly in the stacking stakes, especially if it involves foraging for the evening’s dinner. Shopping ethically and locally is stacking. Something as simple as eating outdoors is stacking because you’re removing the need for heating and lighting, you’re looking into the distance and experiencing nature. However, exercise in the gym is unstacked movement as it only uses movement to improve one part of our lives, our physical structure and health.

“Going for a 30-minute walk to strengthen your muscles and burn some calories is an example of exercise,” says Bowman. “But walking a mile to the store to pick up something for dinner is an example of movement. They use muscles in the same way, but there is a big-picture difference regarding how biological needs are being met.”

Bowman argues that the affluent ailments affecting our society, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis, have been brought about by our attempt to live outside of nature. We live inside walls which limit how far we can see, chairs which prevent our hips and knees from bending all the way to get us to the floor, and thermostats which keep our body temperature at a constant, with no physiological work involved.

Added to this, Bowman says that there are entire categories of movement missing from the list of recommended exercises for health, which is why exercisers, couch potatoes and manual laborers who do a lot of repetitive movement are all prone to the same diseases, joint replacements and need to take the same medication. They are all engaging in limited motions of exercise, for a limited period of time, which will not solve the problems created by our sedentary lifestyles.

Outside the box
So, is there anything the health and fitness industry can do to help? “Health and fitness providers could help by presenting exercise in a broader context of movement,” says Bowman. “Teaching the difference between movement and exercise, clearly stating that it’s not only exercise we need, but all-day movement. The exercises they teach can help prepare people for more varied movement.”

Health and fitness operators need to think outside of the box. They need to make sure they are offering enough choices for people to move in a range of ways and also educating them about the importance of doing so and making sure they have a varied (nutritious) programme of exercise.

As well as encouraging members to think about being active all day – active commuting, taking desk breaks to move and walking while making phone calls – gym owners could be getting their members outside more, for example with group exercise classes in the park, walking or running groups, or urban fitness classes such as StreetGym.

Activities such as yoga and pilates incorporate a wide range of movement and there is also a growing trend in the US for classes that incorporate a range of natural movements, such as MovNat, Animal Flow and the Ido Portal Method.

Finally, Bowman explains why it helps to have less stuff: “We have mistakenly equated getting more stuff with meaning that we are getting more out of life, but our possessions often present a physical barrier to getting the essentials we require. I have got rid of most of the furniture in my home – chairs and sofas, dining room chairs. We have a low table to eat from and the sprung bed has been replaced with a futon, in order to help improve the mobility of our knees, hips and ankles.

“We need more movement, more awareness, more nature, more time with family and friends, more time in nature with family and friends,” she says. “We need to minimise the stuff in our lives, but maximise our natural structure, to create a robust body, within a robust community, within a less taxed environment.”

Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors / shutterstock
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors / shutterstock
Running outside instead of on a treadmill has the added benefits of fresh air, vitamin D, interaction with phytoncides and distance-looking / shutterstock
Running outside instead of on a treadmill has the added benefits of fresh air, vitamin D, interaction with phytoncides and distance-looking / shutterstock
Animal Flow founder Mick Fitch teaches varied movements
Animal Flow founder Mick Fitch teaches varied movements
It’s important to use a body in as many ways as possible, Bowman says
It’s important to use a body in as many ways as possible, Bowman says
Yoga, pilates and natural movement classes incorporate a wider range of movement than other gym activities
Yoga, pilates and natural movement classes incorporate a wider range of movement than other gym activities
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors
Health and fitness providers could offer more classes and activities outdoors
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/36056_223583.png
In her latest book, the biomechanist and author explains why we need to widen our spectrum of movement and connect with our inner hunter-gatherer
Latest News
The US government has passed a motion that will see gig workers, independent contractors and ...
Latest News
The physical activity sector is adapting to the difficult circumstances caused by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), according ...
Latest News
Joe Wicks, the personal trainer who has become a global star thanks to his daily ...
Latest News
Physical activity sector bodies have welcomed the government's measures to help the UK's self-employed workers ...
Latest News
Hollywood star Chris Hemsworth is making his online fitness programme Centrfit available for free for ...
Latest News
American Council on Exercise (ACE) has urged US policymakers to not leave the fitness sector's ...
Latest News
Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of Pure Gym, appeared on BBC Question Time last night (26 March ...
Latest News
A new national campaign has been launched to encourage people to stay physically active at ...
Latest News
ClassPass will begin offering its partners the opportunity to live-stream classes through its app and ...
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Gym operators are pivoting to digital in a stampede to engage with members during the ...
Latest News
Leading organisations in the physical activity sector have urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide urgent ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: FORA works with Power Plate to raise awareness of sitting disease through movement and vibration
With office workers spending over eight hours per day sitting at their desks, and one in six affected by mental health issues every year, it is no surprise that businesses are looking to introduce ‘wellness’ to the workplace
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: The unmissable independent fitness event is back!
Pre-sale tickets are now available for the UK’s only event created exclusively for personal trainers, gym owners and fitness managers working in the independent gym and health club sector.
Opinion
promotion
The modern training gym champions functional fitness in a small group personal training model, with a premium service experience at its heart
Opinion: Overcome membership attrition with this surprising new industry trend: the modern training gym
Video Gallery
DFC: We do more...
DFC
DFC are a leading direct debit collection company, providing cash flow solutions to happy clients from all over the UK. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Precor
For more than 35 years, Precor has driven fitness forward. We continue that heritage every ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness equipment
Physical Company Ltd: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Exercise equipment
Technogym: Exercise equipment
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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