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Getting the UK active

David Stalker, CEO of ukactive, looks forward to September’s National Fitness Day

by David Stalker, ukactive | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 8
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

When something like National Fitness Day is handed to an organisation like ours to develop, lead and manage, you can’t help but feel more than a little excited. We’re aiming to make Friday 26 September the biggest nationwide celebration of physical activity – not only in the sector’s annual calendar, but for the nation.

 We all know about the benefits of regular exercise: a healthier heart, freedom from chronic illnesses, a better quality of life – the list goes on. But the reality is, many people find getting active a lonely slog – and it really shouldn’t be.

So when the énergie Group, founders of National Fitness Day, came to us with the proposition that we were best placed to steward National Fitness Day to become the platform it truly could be, we were delighted to take the baton.

Make it sociable
Research shows that, if you exercise in company, you’re more likely to stick at it. A seductive combination of the social atmosphere, camaraderie and accountability among the group spurs even the most reluctant exercise novice to show up with a positive attitude and, most importantly, to have fun. That’s what National Fitness Day is all about – providing people with the inspiration to move.

What does National Fitness Day involve?
Firstly, there’s the Power Half Hour, where health clubs, gyms and leisure centres across the country will open their doors to everyone – members or non-members – to participate in free National Fitness Day Power Half Hour events, from group cycling and Zumba to BodyCombat and circuits.

Secondly, a series of mass participation fitness events will be held in high-traffic public squares in major UK cities. Hundreds of participants will sweat it out together, energised by great music and motivated by the fun of getting active together.

Golden opportunity
The great thing about National Fitness Day is that it gives operators a unique opportunity to build a relationship with new customers and connect with existing members through a powerful, visible platform that taps into the fitness ‘mood of the moment’. We’re going big on the marketing too: we’ll be driving maximum exposure for the event through a catalogue of high profile media outlets, including a national print and radio campaign.

We’ve also enlisted professor Greg Whyte, OBE, as our National Fitness Day resident expert. As one of the country’s pre-eminent sport scientists – and the man who trained Davina McCall, David Walliams and Eddie Izzard for their incredible sporting challenges – he knows exactly what it takes to get the best out of your body.

I’m excited by the opportunity the event gives us – the chance to create a public legacy through a memorable experience that helps fuel the nation’s appetite for fitness. It’s also a great chance for our sector to demonstrate credibility, relevance and ingenuity to stakeholders such as brands, business and community.

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