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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

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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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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Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities ...
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A national survey has launched to chart the mental health of the fitness and physical ...
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One of England's highest ranking police officers has called on government ministers to clearly define ...
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Virtuagym, a leading provider of fitness technology for gyms and trainers, has announced the launch ...
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Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range ...
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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: Primal Strength bolsters Scottish expansion with Matrix Fitness distribution win
Matrix Fitness has announced an exclusive partnership with Primal Strength to target an increased strategic focus on the Scottish market.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: The Retention People unveil 2020 Member Experience Awards winners
Member engagement software provider The Retention People (TRP) has unveiled the winners of its annual 2020 Member Experience Awards (MEA).
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
At Matrix Fitness, our goal is to make innovative commercial fitness equipment that stands out ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Premier Software Solutions Ltd
Premier Software was founded in 1994 and has proven experience developing business management solutions specifically ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Software
Volution.fit: Software
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
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Sothys: Skincare
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
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AskNicely: Member feedback software
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Pendex Fisio S.L.: Exercise equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
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11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
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Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
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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
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Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
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tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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