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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Policy: Living longer better

As our sector starts to recover, there will be changes in the needs of communities, consumers and the provision of opportunities. To explore this subject we hosted a virtual round table to better understand views on key workforce questions

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 5
The health service needs to prescribe activity every time a drug is prescribed, says Gray / photo: les mills
The health service needs to prescribe activity every time a drug is prescribed, says Gray / photo: les mills

The What?
Sport England tells us four out of 10 people are less active now than before the pandemic.

The Why?
As a nation, we need to learn lessons from COVID-19 and prove the value of physical activity to consumers, the health sector and the government.

The How?
Our facilities need to become more inclusive and community-based, but what does this mean for our workforce? 

What will be the main impact of COVID-19 on activity levels?
Muir: There’s evidence activity levels are down and weight is up. There will be increased awareness of the impact of inactivity and an opportunity for the fitness industry workforce to reach subgroups of society they’ve never reached before. 

Tara: A post-pandemic world represents one of the greatest opportunities for our sector in a generation. Government messaging constantly reinforced the importance of staying active throughout this last year and we know many people have taken steps for the first time to develop an active lifestyle.

Gyms and leisure centres will be influential, but we must remember not everyone wants to join a gym. Many enjoy a plethora of ways of staying active, and new habits have formed. Ensuring our sector broadens its offer in providing safe and enjoyable active environments that everyone can access is essential.

Stuart: The pandemic will leave a legacy of behaviour change. The economic impact will mean disposable income available for sport and leisure will be limited. People will look for low-cost, flexible, hyper-local activity. 

Elaine: The UK is one of the most obese countries in Europe, so we must reposition and reimagine our sector and ecosystem to enable people to be more active. The gaps between those who have access to exercise and physical activity and the motivation to take part and those who don’t, will be wider than before. There will be a need for our sector to rethink how to engage with those people to save the nation’s health.

What will these changes mean for the development of the sport and physical activity workforce?
Tara: There are many opportunities for our sector. To take advantage of these, we need to prioritise a new style and skill set in leadership that allows us to create a different type of approach to workforce development locally.

We need a leadership that can adopt a whole system approach to active lifestyles and work with local authorities, education providers and employers to show how healthy localities can impact social and economic outcomes.

Stuart: We predict a significant contraction in the workforce for employed roles, which means displaced workers will either look to other sectors or set up new opportunities.

Less employment in facilities will necessitate adaptation and becoming more flexible with where they work. Micro gyms, pop-up gyms, mobile activity provision at home or in community centres etc, will become increasingly essential.

Elaine: Opportunities for people to train in new and reimagined roles will be necessary to address a more holistic and community-based approach. Workforce development will need to ensure professionals can deliver a fully-rounded service and understand their local community’s needs and priorities to be part of the solution. 

What opportunities do you see?  
Muir: The health service needs to help – prescribing activity every time a drug is prescribed. 

Tara: There needs to be a greater understanding of the health and social priorities of local authorities. We need to work with local partners to become catalysts for change.

We’ll work with key stakeholders, operators, active partnerships and sports bodies to shape and support a workforce around impactful, sustainable systemic change.

Stuart: The possibilities are endless: retraining opportunities, employment solutions such as apprenticeships, traineeships and kickstart, as well as providing the support and guidance for people to start micro-businesses and social enterprises.

We could establish local and community employment collectives and trust banks, so people can access ‘micro credit’ and short hours employment can be aggregated to become something longer-term. 

Elaine: Having to adapt to a new way of working and living under lockdown has provided the opportunity to do things differently, embrace technology, undertake learning and reach out to others. The result will be our workforce seeking a more flexible way of working and collaborating. 

How can we ensure that wellbeing through exercise is available to all on a more equitable basis, rather than being the preserve of the well-off?
Muir: The NHS needs to shift £100m from the drugs budget to the activity therapy budget.

Tara: We have the most incredible ‘product’, which anyone can access, regardless of gender, background, postcode or finances.

If product focus is one step, then the next must surely be delivery. An inclusive and creative model, providing accessible, safe, enjoyable environments, is ours to share.

Collaboration, contribution and solution firmly ensconced in every delivery model’s mindset and values are also key. 

Stuart: Our [Sport England] strategy has a major aim to connect efficiently with health. Our workforce must be professionally recognised and regulated to make social prescribing easier and part of the standard health offering. 

We’ll also extend our pilot work with occupational therapists based in leisure facilities to make this support more easily accessible. 

Elaine: We need to educate our workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life. The workforce needs to understand that the answer lies not in fitness and facilities but in communities and health.

The public needs to be made aware of the many opportunities they have to become healthier in their local areas, assisted by a professional and credible workforce recognised by the health sector. 

Should we be ‘semi-medicalising’ our workforce?
Muir: Long-COVID is just another long-term condition; the workforce needs the confidence, skill and knowledge to treat it as such.

Tara: We have excellent standards of impactful practice such as cancer prehab, diabetes clinics etc. We do, however, need to continue to educate advocates, such as GPs and occupational and mental health professionals, about the benefits of activity.

Our profession is skilled-up to increase activity among the population – we can help prevent people from becoming ill – but our role needs to be better understood by allied health professions. That’s not to say that our workforce shouldn’t always look to upskill, but I don’t think ‘medicalising’ our professionals will encourage more people to get active, whereas getting the support and buy-in from our healthcare colleagues will.

Stuart: The workforce needs a better understanding of health conditions generally. Having a workforce able to engage with people with long-term health conditions is essential to meeting their needs and giving them confidence that they will be cared for effectively.

Elaine: There’s a step to be taken before ‘semi-medicalising’ the workforce. That is to change behaviours and mindsets about our sector’s training and what it does.

We need to reimagine our sector and the vital part we play in people’s health. Only with a willingness to change our services will we present the opportunities for a different approach and essential skills.

How can we get funding to reskill the sector?
Tara: Funding is critical. We need to work with the government to ensure activity is at the forefront of their minds when rebuilding society. We’ve got to do that in a more unified way than previously.

Stuart: We need a stronger understanding of the employment and skills required of our sector – we need granular knowledge from the ground up.

Then we’ll be able to tap into local sources of skills funding, influence education providers, and build a national picture to develop an industrial strategy and explore the possibility of a ‘sector deal’ with the government.

Elaine: We need to take a whole system approach when considering what skills are required to create a ‘National Wellness Service’. This would require buy-in and funding from local and national agencies. The measurements of such training would link to local and national priorities and outcomes.

"The NHS needs to shift £100m from the drugs budget to the activity therapy budget " – Muir Gray Optimal Ageing

"We need to take a whole system approach to create a ‘National Wellness Service’" – Elaine Briggs, FutureFit Training

" Our role needs to be better understood in the allied health professions " – Tara Dillon, CIMSPA

"We need to build an industrial strategy and explore the possibility of a sector deal with the government" – Stuart Armstrong, Sport England

We need to educate the workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life / photo: les mills
We need to educate the workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life / photo: les mills
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/355660_210480.jpg
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Editor's letter
The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways
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Letters
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
Latest News
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FitnessOnDemand launches new live-streaming feature for all fitness clubs and their members
FitnessOnDemand (FOD) [IHRSA BOOTH 1509] the leader in on-demand content from the world’s most innovative fitness brands and celebrity trainers, this month introduces a new platform evolution for all club operators and their customers.
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: 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.
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: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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

Policy: Living longer better

As our sector starts to recover, there will be changes in the needs of communities, consumers and the provision of opportunities. To explore this subject we hosted a virtual round table to better understand views on key workforce questions

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 5
The health service needs to prescribe activity every time a drug is prescribed, says Gray / photo: les mills
The health service needs to prescribe activity every time a drug is prescribed, says Gray / photo: les mills

The What?
Sport England tells us four out of 10 people are less active now than before the pandemic.

The Why?
As a nation, we need to learn lessons from COVID-19 and prove the value of physical activity to consumers, the health sector and the government.

The How?
Our facilities need to become more inclusive and community-based, but what does this mean for our workforce? 

What will be the main impact of COVID-19 on activity levels?
Muir: There’s evidence activity levels are down and weight is up. There will be increased awareness of the impact of inactivity and an opportunity for the fitness industry workforce to reach subgroups of society they’ve never reached before. 

Tara: A post-pandemic world represents one of the greatest opportunities for our sector in a generation. Government messaging constantly reinforced the importance of staying active throughout this last year and we know many people have taken steps for the first time to develop an active lifestyle.

Gyms and leisure centres will be influential, but we must remember not everyone wants to join a gym. Many enjoy a plethora of ways of staying active, and new habits have formed. Ensuring our sector broadens its offer in providing safe and enjoyable active environments that everyone can access is essential.

Stuart: The pandemic will leave a legacy of behaviour change. The economic impact will mean disposable income available for sport and leisure will be limited. People will look for low-cost, flexible, hyper-local activity. 

Elaine: The UK is one of the most obese countries in Europe, so we must reposition and reimagine our sector and ecosystem to enable people to be more active. The gaps between those who have access to exercise and physical activity and the motivation to take part and those who don’t, will be wider than before. There will be a need for our sector to rethink how to engage with those people to save the nation’s health.

What will these changes mean for the development of the sport and physical activity workforce?
Tara: There are many opportunities for our sector. To take advantage of these, we need to prioritise a new style and skill set in leadership that allows us to create a different type of approach to workforce development locally.

We need a leadership that can adopt a whole system approach to active lifestyles and work with local authorities, education providers and employers to show how healthy localities can impact social and economic outcomes.

Stuart: We predict a significant contraction in the workforce for employed roles, which means displaced workers will either look to other sectors or set up new opportunities.

Less employment in facilities will necessitate adaptation and becoming more flexible with where they work. Micro gyms, pop-up gyms, mobile activity provision at home or in community centres etc, will become increasingly essential.

Elaine: Opportunities for people to train in new and reimagined roles will be necessary to address a more holistic and community-based approach. Workforce development will need to ensure professionals can deliver a fully-rounded service and understand their local community’s needs and priorities to be part of the solution. 

What opportunities do you see?  
Muir: The health service needs to help – prescribing activity every time a drug is prescribed. 

Tara: There needs to be a greater understanding of the health and social priorities of local authorities. We need to work with local partners to become catalysts for change.

We’ll work with key stakeholders, operators, active partnerships and sports bodies to shape and support a workforce around impactful, sustainable systemic change.

Stuart: The possibilities are endless: retraining opportunities, employment solutions such as apprenticeships, traineeships and kickstart, as well as providing the support and guidance for people to start micro-businesses and social enterprises.

We could establish local and community employment collectives and trust banks, so people can access ‘micro credit’ and short hours employment can be aggregated to become something longer-term. 

Elaine: Having to adapt to a new way of working and living under lockdown has provided the opportunity to do things differently, embrace technology, undertake learning and reach out to others. The result will be our workforce seeking a more flexible way of working and collaborating. 

How can we ensure that wellbeing through exercise is available to all on a more equitable basis, rather than being the preserve of the well-off?
Muir: The NHS needs to shift £100m from the drugs budget to the activity therapy budget.

Tara: We have the most incredible ‘product’, which anyone can access, regardless of gender, background, postcode or finances.

If product focus is one step, then the next must surely be delivery. An inclusive and creative model, providing accessible, safe, enjoyable environments, is ours to share.

Collaboration, contribution and solution firmly ensconced in every delivery model’s mindset and values are also key. 

Stuart: Our [Sport England] strategy has a major aim to connect efficiently with health. Our workforce must be professionally recognised and regulated to make social prescribing easier and part of the standard health offering. 

We’ll also extend our pilot work with occupational therapists based in leisure facilities to make this support more easily accessible. 

Elaine: We need to educate our workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life. The workforce needs to understand that the answer lies not in fitness and facilities but in communities and health.

The public needs to be made aware of the many opportunities they have to become healthier in their local areas, assisted by a professional and credible workforce recognised by the health sector. 

Should we be ‘semi-medicalising’ our workforce?
Muir: Long-COVID is just another long-term condition; the workforce needs the confidence, skill and knowledge to treat it as such.

Tara: We have excellent standards of impactful practice such as cancer prehab, diabetes clinics etc. We do, however, need to continue to educate advocates, such as GPs and occupational and mental health professionals, about the benefits of activity.

Our profession is skilled-up to increase activity among the population – we can help prevent people from becoming ill – but our role needs to be better understood by allied health professions. That’s not to say that our workforce shouldn’t always look to upskill, but I don’t think ‘medicalising’ our professionals will encourage more people to get active, whereas getting the support and buy-in from our healthcare colleagues will.

Stuart: The workforce needs a better understanding of health conditions generally. Having a workforce able to engage with people with long-term health conditions is essential to meeting their needs and giving them confidence that they will be cared for effectively.

Elaine: There’s a step to be taken before ‘semi-medicalising’ the workforce. That is to change behaviours and mindsets about our sector’s training and what it does.

We need to reimagine our sector and the vital part we play in people’s health. Only with a willingness to change our services will we present the opportunities for a different approach and essential skills.

How can we get funding to reskill the sector?
Tara: Funding is critical. We need to work with the government to ensure activity is at the forefront of their minds when rebuilding society. We’ve got to do that in a more unified way than previously.

Stuart: We need a stronger understanding of the employment and skills required of our sector – we need granular knowledge from the ground up.

Then we’ll be able to tap into local sources of skills funding, influence education providers, and build a national picture to develop an industrial strategy and explore the possibility of a ‘sector deal’ with the government.

Elaine: We need to take a whole system approach when considering what skills are required to create a ‘National Wellness Service’. This would require buy-in and funding from local and national agencies. The measurements of such training would link to local and national priorities and outcomes.

"The NHS needs to shift £100m from the drugs budget to the activity therapy budget " – Muir Gray Optimal Ageing

"We need to take a whole system approach to create a ‘National Wellness Service’" – Elaine Briggs, FutureFit Training

" Our role needs to be better understood in the allied health professions " – Tara Dillon, CIMSPA

"We need to build an industrial strategy and explore the possibility of a sector deal with the government" – Stuart Armstrong, Sport England

We need to educate the workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life / photo: les mills
We need to educate the workforce and the public about the benefits of leading a healthy life / photo: les mills
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/355660_210480.jpg
Our panel of experts discuss ways to upskill the workforce in response to the challenges of the pandemic
Latest News
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FitnessOnDemand launches new live-streaming feature for all fitness clubs and their members
FitnessOnDemand (FOD) [IHRSA BOOTH 1509] the leader in on-demand content from the world’s most innovative fitness brands and celebrity trainers, this month introduces a new platform evolution for all club operators and their customers.
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: 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.
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: Quoox
With more than 200 integrated features, Quoox is confident there is a solution for every ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix provides innovative commercial fitness equipment to facilities in all market sectors including private health ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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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Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
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