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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Opinion: Challenging ageism

The over-70s were treated as one homogenous group during the lockdown and advised to shield. Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging says this is leading to an increase in ageism that the industry must fight to overcome

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Ernestine Shepherd – born in 1936 – is a PT and bodybuilder / Washington Post/GETTY
Ernestine Shepherd – born in 1936 – is a PT and bodybuilder / Washington Post/GETTY
The fitness & leisure industries should seek out ways to become advocates for the health and wellbeing of older adults

Is the pandemic increasing issues around ageism? If so, what can be done to prevent this?
Yes – what we see is all older adults being viewed as being most at risk. Why? Because of their age!

Ageism has been shown to reduce the ability of older people to gain employment, get medical treatment, or find products that meet their needs. This ambivalence towards this demographic comes with a price – lower quality of life. COVID-19 has taken this to new heights.

Headlines highlight the issue. In April the Guardian brought this home with an article entitled ‘Favouring young over old in COVID-19 treatment is justifiable, says ethicist.’

Not long after this article, the American Geriatric Society came out with a position statement that highlighted ‘Age should never be used as a means for categorically excluding someone from what is ordinarily the standard of care, nor should age ‘cut-offs’ be used in allocation strategies.’

This is just one example of how ageism is rearing its ugly head during the pandemic.

There’s a danger over 70s will be encouraged to stay at home, impacting on their fitness and mental health. How can the activity sector enable older people to exercise safely?
The simple answer is, understand the facts and not the fear and guard against putting all older people into the category of ‘vulnerable’.

The facts: most older adults impacted by COVID-19 live in care communities and some have a compromised immune system. These individuals are not typical members of gyms. They are only five per cent of this cohort and when you remove them from the equation, the death rate from COVID-19 is the same for all age groups over 44.

The facts: As we age, our immune system diminishes. However, our lifestyle has a significant impact on this. If you’re young but also inactive, you smoke, drink alcohol, have poor sleeping habits, are stressed, eat a poor diet, have health issues, don’t exercise, and use drugs, your immune system will be more compromised than someone older and healthy.

How should the fitness industry respond?
The fitness and leisure industries should learn from the above. They should seek out ways to become advocates for the health and wellbeing of older adults.

Where people are genuinely vulnerable, we must ask what can be done by operators of gyms and fitness centres to enable them to exercise at home and still have social contact.

We’ve seen a massive uptick in online classes that range from exercise to cooking. This is an incredible opportunity to provide your services and more to those who are at risk. Hire specialists to offer fitness classes online to serve the interests of those in need.

As social isolation is such a key factor, you may seek to do this for small groups of the truly vulnerable to build their health and social network.

What other advice do you have for the fitness industry at this time?
Focus on capabilities, health, attitude, positive social connections and families, not age.

Older adults, who possess over 70 per cent of the disposable income in the UK, are starting to reach back into their wallets to find ways to reconnect and get fit again after being addicted to TV, food, alcohol, sweets and inactivity, during the lockdown.

Their strength, cardio capacity, balance, power, muscle mass and mental and emotional health has – as for many of the rest of us – been impacted. They want to regain control over their lives.

You as a facility owner or staff member can play a key role in this. As you can also play a key role in helping them maintain, build, or re-build their immune system, so do not take your responsibility lightly.

Do you have evidence of age-related issues arising in relation to wellbeing in the over 70s?
Most of the age-related issues we talk about are really lifestyle issues.

When someone is unable to achieve a physically active, engaged lifestyle filled with social connections this comes with a cost. An example of this can be found in a research paper published in The Lancet on 19 March 2020, entitled COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly (read more: http://lei.sr/x7d2T), which said: “Self-isolation will disproportionately affect elderly individuals whose only social contact is out of the home... [They] could be placed at additional risk, along with those who are already lonely, isolated, or secluded.”

My fear is for the mental health of people moving forward. The fitness industry can play a vital role in creating a better future for older people.

ICAA’s Colin Milner: “Do not take your responsibilities lightly”
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/190703_887236.jpg
The over-70s were treated as one homogenous group during the lockdown and advised to shield. Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, says this is leading to an increase in ageism...
Colin Milner, International Council on Active Aging,ageism, older adults, fitness
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People should concentrate on exercise and staying fit – rather than dieting and weight loss ...
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Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
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 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
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Uniforms
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Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
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Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Opinion: Challenging ageism

The over-70s were treated as one homogenous group during the lockdown and advised to shield. Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging says this is leading to an increase in ageism that the industry must fight to overcome

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Ernestine Shepherd – born in 1936 – is a PT and bodybuilder / Washington Post/GETTY
Ernestine Shepherd – born in 1936 – is a PT and bodybuilder / Washington Post/GETTY
The fitness & leisure industries should seek out ways to become advocates for the health and wellbeing of older adults

Is the pandemic increasing issues around ageism? If so, what can be done to prevent this?
Yes – what we see is all older adults being viewed as being most at risk. Why? Because of their age!

Ageism has been shown to reduce the ability of older people to gain employment, get medical treatment, or find products that meet their needs. This ambivalence towards this demographic comes with a price – lower quality of life. COVID-19 has taken this to new heights.

Headlines highlight the issue. In April the Guardian brought this home with an article entitled ‘Favouring young over old in COVID-19 treatment is justifiable, says ethicist.’

Not long after this article, the American Geriatric Society came out with a position statement that highlighted ‘Age should never be used as a means for categorically excluding someone from what is ordinarily the standard of care, nor should age ‘cut-offs’ be used in allocation strategies.’

This is just one example of how ageism is rearing its ugly head during the pandemic.

There’s a danger over 70s will be encouraged to stay at home, impacting on their fitness and mental health. How can the activity sector enable older people to exercise safely?
The simple answer is, understand the facts and not the fear and guard against putting all older people into the category of ‘vulnerable’.

The facts: most older adults impacted by COVID-19 live in care communities and some have a compromised immune system. These individuals are not typical members of gyms. They are only five per cent of this cohort and when you remove them from the equation, the death rate from COVID-19 is the same for all age groups over 44.

The facts: As we age, our immune system diminishes. However, our lifestyle has a significant impact on this. If you’re young but also inactive, you smoke, drink alcohol, have poor sleeping habits, are stressed, eat a poor diet, have health issues, don’t exercise, and use drugs, your immune system will be more compromised than someone older and healthy.

How should the fitness industry respond?
The fitness and leisure industries should learn from the above. They should seek out ways to become advocates for the health and wellbeing of older adults.

Where people are genuinely vulnerable, we must ask what can be done by operators of gyms and fitness centres to enable them to exercise at home and still have social contact.

We’ve seen a massive uptick in online classes that range from exercise to cooking. This is an incredible opportunity to provide your services and more to those who are at risk. Hire specialists to offer fitness classes online to serve the interests of those in need.

As social isolation is such a key factor, you may seek to do this for small groups of the truly vulnerable to build their health and social network.

What other advice do you have for the fitness industry at this time?
Focus on capabilities, health, attitude, positive social connections and families, not age.

Older adults, who possess over 70 per cent of the disposable income in the UK, are starting to reach back into their wallets to find ways to reconnect and get fit again after being addicted to TV, food, alcohol, sweets and inactivity, during the lockdown.

Their strength, cardio capacity, balance, power, muscle mass and mental and emotional health has – as for many of the rest of us – been impacted. They want to regain control over their lives.

You as a facility owner or staff member can play a key role in this. As you can also play a key role in helping them maintain, build, or re-build their immune system, so do not take your responsibility lightly.

Do you have evidence of age-related issues arising in relation to wellbeing in the over 70s?
Most of the age-related issues we talk about are really lifestyle issues.

When someone is unable to achieve a physically active, engaged lifestyle filled with social connections this comes with a cost. An example of this can be found in a research paper published in The Lancet on 19 March 2020, entitled COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly (read more: http://lei.sr/x7d2T), which said: “Self-isolation will disproportionately affect elderly individuals whose only social contact is out of the home... [They] could be placed at additional risk, along with those who are already lonely, isolated, or secluded.”

My fear is for the mental health of people moving forward. The fitness industry can play a vital role in creating a better future for older people.

ICAA’s Colin Milner: “Do not take your responsibilities lightly”
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/190703_887236.jpg
The over-70s were treated as one homogenous group during the lockdown and advised to shield. Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, says this is leading to an increase in ageism...
Colin Milner, International Council on Active Aging,ageism, older adults, fitness
Latest News
Boxing-inspired fitness operator Rumble has signed a master franchise agreement in Australia, which could see ...
Latest News
Hotel giant Accor has launched a new bespoke, premium fitness service for its upmarket Pullman ...
Latest News
People should concentrate on exercise and staying fit – rather than dieting and weight loss ...
Latest News
Sibec Europe, scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany, from 2 to 5 November 2021, ...
Latest News
Swim England has warned that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost forever unless the government ...
Latest News
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has joined gym-goers this morning to kick-off the annual National Fitness ...
Latest News
A new high-end workspace, designed for the use of personal trainers, coaches and other health ...
Latest News
VAT reform, adjustments in business rates and a fitness-led high street regeneration push could see ...
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Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
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Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
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Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Power Plate teams up with Myzone for a new exercise experience
Power Plate has teamed up with Myzone to provide its community with new class experiences and the opportunity to offer rewards based on effort, every time they move.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
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.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: EGYM UK Ltd
EGYM empowers gym operators to deliver a workout experience that supports their members' lifelong fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Fitronics (CoursePro and TRP)
Fitronics is the company behind The Retention People (TRP) and CoursePro. We truly understand our ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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