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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Policy: Fitness to wellbeing

Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 1
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The industry should change from being focused on fitness and mostly working in real estate, to being a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or level of health, wherever is needed

Before COVID, we were preparing an article for HCM called the Inverse Gym Law. This was based on a famous article published in The Lancet fifty years ago called the Inverse Care Law in which the author, the late Julian Tudor Hart, demonstrated that the volume and quality of healthcare was inversely related to need.

Our argument was that the fitness industry is also delivering a service that is inversely related to the potential for benefit.

Most of the people working with trainers and using gyms and fitness centres are young people, whereas the benefit that can be obtained from these resources increases with every decade of life that passes.

This is because the fitness gap opens up for most people in their early twenties when they get their first job – usually a sitting job – and their first car and that gap grows progressively wider until it reaches a point when it means the individual will drop below what has been called The Line, namely the level of ability where they can no longer carry out crucial tasks such as getting to the toilet in time.

The complicating factor is that the normal biological ageing process – which by itself does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s – does reduce resilience. This means that with each decade that goes by, fitness and ability are lost faster and are more difficult to recover.

However the evidence is clear that people of any age, no matter how many long-term conditions they may have, can close the fitness gap if they undertake the right exercise regime.

Although deprivation remains a huge problem, many older people are well off financially and so – pre-pandemic – represented an untapped market for the fitness industry, but then along came COVID-19.

Learning from the pandemic
Older people are at greater risk from coronavirus infection and for this reason are advised to practice what was initially called socially distancing – namely to avoid interaction with other, younger people, although it was emphasised in the prime minister’s first speech that getting out for exercise was very important.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on older people in terms of fatalities, particularly in care homes, but what has emerged – more importantly – is the impact of lockdown on their health and this has been called the deconditioning pandemic, or the second pandemic.

The impact of this deconditioning is dramatically revealed in recent reports by AgeUK and the Centre for Ageing Better. One quarter of older people cannot walk as far and one fifth feel less steady on their feet and there have also been huge psychological impacts in terms of isolation and depression, which are both risk factors for dementia.

The need for reconditioning
Evidence shows people can regain lost ability, no matter their age or the number of conditions they have, but how can this reconditioning be brought about?

Social care bears a great burden as a result of deconditioning among older people, but is prevented from taking action by the current ‘culture of care’, which to most people means doing things FOR others.

This approach was laid down in 1948 in the National Assistance Act, which made it clear that younger people with special needs, “the crippled, deaf, dumb and blind”, needed education to overcome their difficulties, whereas the aged simply needed ‘practical assistance”, either at home or in care homes.

As a result, a culture developed which assumed that every problem was due to ageing and could be solved by just doing things for people.

Persistent culture
The Social Care Act of 2014 was much more enlightened and Section 2 emphasises the need to prevent the need for social care, but the culture has not changed.

The NHS is, by definition, a health service but in practice it is a National Disease Service and of course it has a vitally important role to play in, for example, treating stroke and providing joint replacement – two examples of the miracles of the second healthcare revolution – the high-tech revolution. The first being the Public Health Revolution of the 19th century.

With additional problems posed by COVID-19, it’s unlikely the NHS will be able to rise to the challenge of reconditioning the elderly, which should actually be the first step in the development of a completely different approach and culture to help people live longer, better and have a shorter period of multi-morbidity and dependency at the end of life.

The opportunity
In a major project organised by the Oxfordshire Activity Partnership, seventeen Active Partnerships are working towards a common set of objectives to help people live longer, better and to change the culture from a culture of care to a culture of enablement – or perhaps we could even use the term coaching – based on a definition of coaching as being activities to help people close the gap between potential and performance.

The key workforce are PTs and this means that the sector formerly known as the fitness industry is playing a key role in promoting wellbeing.

The term fitness of course is an accurate term, but it is so deeply associated with younger people that to change the culture it is better to use another term, and wellbeing is probably the single best term to use.

I believe the industry should change its brand from being a fitness industry, mostly working in real estate, to a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or any level of health, either individually or in groups – online as well as in buildings.

Muir Gray is director of the optimal ageing programme at Oxford, a member of Active Oxfordshire and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Opinion: Kenny Butler – ukactive

Gyms, pools and leisure centres are essential places for the health and wellbeing of older adults, where they achieve not only greater physical activity levels, but also improved social connections, generating health, economic and social value.

The industry has proven these places are COVID-secure and that they’re more important than ever in this new chapter in the fight against COVID-19.

These places deliver 66 per cent of cancer rehabilitation and all the nation’s GP Exercise on Referral services. They’re also where 17.1m people reach the recommended levels of activity each week – second only to walking.

The industry now has a partnership with NHS England through social prescribing, and has put itself forward to help with the backlog of rehabilitation for elective surgeries and other rehabilitation needs in an ever-growing deconditioning crisis.

This industry is an essential service in the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as enhancing the physical and mental health of the nation.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/718719_859199.jpg
Muir Gray argues the industry needs a change of focus to optimise its potential
Muir Grey, ageing, optimal ageing programme, Kenny Butler, ukactive,wellbeing, fitness
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The Budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing ...
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled an additional £700m funding boost for sports and culture, as ...
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The merger of two tech firms will result in the creation of a business software ...
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3d Leisure has put the current lockdown to good use, by stepping in to help ...
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Gyms and leisure centres in Scotland are set to open on 26 April, provided that ...
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Hundreds of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been forced to close and thousands ...
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People placing increased emphasis on their physical fitness, the advances made in digital fitness and ...
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A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as ...
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Featured supplier: Precor launches member-focused Preva Mobile app
Precor has launched a mobile app to accompany its popular networked fitness solution, Preva, which has so far recorded almost a billion workouts in more than 11,000 facilities worldwide.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Storytelling - the future of fitness content
Heading into 2021, storytelling will be a key trend among fitness content creators and connected fitness providers, as the industry recognises its potential to unlock ultra- engaging experiences that boost retention.
Video Gallery
Mywellness App 5.0
Technogym
Mywellness helps you assess customer needs, provide great workouts and programmes, guarantee a training spot on the gym floor, offer group training, track indoor and outdoor workouts - even with 3rd party apps. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Gympass
On a mission to defeat inactivity, Gympass is a corporate wellness solution that builds mutually ...
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Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Venueserve Fitness
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Management software
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Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
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Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Policy: Fitness to wellbeing

Muir Gray has a vision for a world where exercise professionals help people live longer, better lives into old age

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 1
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The normal biological ageing process does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s / Photo: AlessandroBiascioli / shutterstock
The industry should change from being focused on fitness and mostly working in real estate, to being a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or level of health, wherever is needed

Before COVID, we were preparing an article for HCM called the Inverse Gym Law. This was based on a famous article published in The Lancet fifty years ago called the Inverse Care Law in which the author, the late Julian Tudor Hart, demonstrated that the volume and quality of healthcare was inversely related to need.

Our argument was that the fitness industry is also delivering a service that is inversely related to the potential for benefit.

Most of the people working with trainers and using gyms and fitness centres are young people, whereas the benefit that can be obtained from these resources increases with every decade of life that passes.

This is because the fitness gap opens up for most people in their early twenties when they get their first job – usually a sitting job – and their first car and that gap grows progressively wider until it reaches a point when it means the individual will drop below what has been called The Line, namely the level of ability where they can no longer carry out crucial tasks such as getting to the toilet in time.

The complicating factor is that the normal biological ageing process – which by itself does not cause problems until people are into their late 90s – does reduce resilience. This means that with each decade that goes by, fitness and ability are lost faster and are more difficult to recover.

However the evidence is clear that people of any age, no matter how many long-term conditions they may have, can close the fitness gap if they undertake the right exercise regime.

Although deprivation remains a huge problem, many older people are well off financially and so – pre-pandemic – represented an untapped market for the fitness industry, but then along came COVID-19.

Learning from the pandemic
Older people are at greater risk from coronavirus infection and for this reason are advised to practice what was initially called socially distancing – namely to avoid interaction with other, younger people, although it was emphasised in the prime minister’s first speech that getting out for exercise was very important.

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on older people in terms of fatalities, particularly in care homes, but what has emerged – more importantly – is the impact of lockdown on their health and this has been called the deconditioning pandemic, or the second pandemic.

The impact of this deconditioning is dramatically revealed in recent reports by AgeUK and the Centre for Ageing Better. One quarter of older people cannot walk as far and one fifth feel less steady on their feet and there have also been huge psychological impacts in terms of isolation and depression, which are both risk factors for dementia.

The need for reconditioning
Evidence shows people can regain lost ability, no matter their age or the number of conditions they have, but how can this reconditioning be brought about?

Social care bears a great burden as a result of deconditioning among older people, but is prevented from taking action by the current ‘culture of care’, which to most people means doing things FOR others.

This approach was laid down in 1948 in the National Assistance Act, which made it clear that younger people with special needs, “the crippled, deaf, dumb and blind”, needed education to overcome their difficulties, whereas the aged simply needed ‘practical assistance”, either at home or in care homes.

As a result, a culture developed which assumed that every problem was due to ageing and could be solved by just doing things for people.

Persistent culture
The Social Care Act of 2014 was much more enlightened and Section 2 emphasises the need to prevent the need for social care, but the culture has not changed.

The NHS is, by definition, a health service but in practice it is a National Disease Service and of course it has a vitally important role to play in, for example, treating stroke and providing joint replacement – two examples of the miracles of the second healthcare revolution – the high-tech revolution. The first being the Public Health Revolution of the 19th century.

With additional problems posed by COVID-19, it’s unlikely the NHS will be able to rise to the challenge of reconditioning the elderly, which should actually be the first step in the development of a completely different approach and culture to help people live longer, better and have a shorter period of multi-morbidity and dependency at the end of life.

The opportunity
In a major project organised by the Oxfordshire Activity Partnership, seventeen Active Partnerships are working towards a common set of objectives to help people live longer, better and to change the culture from a culture of care to a culture of enablement – or perhaps we could even use the term coaching – based on a definition of coaching as being activities to help people close the gap between potential and performance.

The key workforce are PTs and this means that the sector formerly known as the fitness industry is playing a key role in promoting wellbeing.

The term fitness of course is an accurate term, but it is so deeply associated with younger people that to change the culture it is better to use another term, and wellbeing is probably the single best term to use.

I believe the industry should change its brand from being a fitness industry, mostly working in real estate, to a wellbeing industry, working with people of any age or any level of health, either individually or in groups – online as well as in buildings.

Muir Gray is director of the optimal ageing programme at Oxford, a member of Active Oxfordshire and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Opinion: Kenny Butler – ukactive

Gyms, pools and leisure centres are essential places for the health and wellbeing of older adults, where they achieve not only greater physical activity levels, but also improved social connections, generating health, economic and social value.

The industry has proven these places are COVID-secure and that they’re more important than ever in this new chapter in the fight against COVID-19.

These places deliver 66 per cent of cancer rehabilitation and all the nation’s GP Exercise on Referral services. They’re also where 17.1m people reach the recommended levels of activity each week – second only to walking.

The industry now has a partnership with NHS England through social prescribing, and has put itself forward to help with the backlog of rehabilitation for elective surgeries and other rehabilitation needs in an ever-growing deconditioning crisis.

This industry is an essential service in the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as enhancing the physical and mental health of the nation.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
Exercise interventions can shorten the period of dependency at the end of life / Photo: CGN089/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
The fitness industry can play a key role in promoting wellbeing in older people / Photo: Jacob Lund/shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/718719_859199.jpg
Muir Gray argues the industry needs a change of focus to optimise its potential
Muir Grey, ageing, optimal ageing programme, Kenny Butler, ukactive,wellbeing, fitness
Latest News
The Budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing ...
Latest News
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled an additional £700m funding boost for sports and culture, as ...
Latest News
The merger of two tech firms will result in the creation of a business software ...
Latest News
3d Leisure has put the current lockdown to good use, by stepping in to help ...
Latest News
Gyms and leisure centres in Scotland are set to open on 26 April, provided that ...
Latest News
Hundreds of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been forced to close and thousands ...
Latest News
People placing increased emphasis on their physical fitness, the advances made in digital fitness and ...
Latest News
A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as ...
Latest News
What are the effects on public health of gyms and leisure centres being shut during ...
Latest News
Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie has released its State Of Mobile 2021 report, ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled to November. The event will ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Precor launches member-focused Preva Mobile app
Precor has launched a mobile app to accompany its popular networked fitness solution, Preva, which has so far recorded almost a billion workouts in more than 11,000 facilities worldwide.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Storytelling - the future of fitness content
Heading into 2021, storytelling will be a key trend among fitness content creators and connected fitness providers, as the industry recognises its potential to unlock ultra- engaging experiences that boost retention.
Video Gallery
Mywellness App 5.0
Technogym
Mywellness helps you assess customer needs, provide great workouts and programmes, guarantee a training spot on the gym floor, offer group training, track indoor and outdoor workouts - even with 3rd party apps. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Gympass
On a mission to defeat inactivity, Gympass is a corporate wellness solution that builds mutually ...
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Venueserve Fitness
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
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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