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Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 11
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

Creating a healthy, nutritious environment

Huw Edwards
Huw Edwards
Huw Edwards,

Public affairs director,

ukactive


The food initiatives currently being trialled at leisure venues (see HCM Sept 16, p68) demonstrate a healthy appetite among the fitness sector to deliver integrated wellbeing solutions for members. Now the challenge is to ensure evidence-led best practice around nutrition can be adopted by leisure facilities nationwide.

Over the coming months, ukactive will be working with local authority leisure operators across its membership base, along with food vendors and the Local Government Association, to explore how we can help sport and leisure venues to create healthier options.

Our ‘Let’s Get Moving’ intervention showed that the sector can benefit hugely from working with GPs around exercise referral. If the sector can become a standard-bearer for all aspects of wellness – including exercise, diet and mindfulness – substantial opportunities will open up for closer collaboration with the health service.

While it’s important to maintain streams of secondary income and offer choice for consumers, vending machines offering unhealthy snacks and drinks are a big cause for concern among health professionals. We can allay these fears by looking at alternative snacks and products, thereby providing a healthy environment for both children and adults.

The emergence of leisure operators as true frontline health delivery partners would greatly ease the burden on stretched NHS budgets. Meanwhile, regular referrals from GPs would drive participation from communities not routinely reached by the leisure industry. It’s a clear win-win, but there is still much to be done. In terms of healthier nutrition in clubs, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.

By offering healthy snacks, gyms encourage habits that complement physical activity / PHOTO:shutterstock.com
By offering healthy snacks, gyms encourage habits that complement physical activity/ PHOTO:shutterstock.com

Virtual is the new reality

Martin Franklin
Martin Franklin
Martin Franklin,

CEO,

Les Mills UK


Recently, I read about a study that asked 1,000 fitness enthusiasts what they expect fitness to look like in 2026 (see HCM news story here: http://lei.sr?a=t3N8Y). Not surprisingly, one in five believe virtual reality will allow them to work out in their living rooms with their favourite athletes, and more than half expect to engage virtually with personal trainers via TVs and computers.

This research calls for our industry to embrace virtual tools to assist in attracting and retaining members. There is no substitute for a motivational in-person workout with an instructor, but we have to recognise that often location, a busy life and low income can get in the way.

Consumers are attracted by convenient, easily accessible services. Health clubs should act on this and provide members with an ‘at home/online’ solution, with a view to incorporating virtual technologies to future-proof offerings.

Change can be daunting, but there must be a focus on long-term gain. Whether it’s digital treadmills bringing the gaming experience to the fitness sector, out-of-this-world indoor cycling classes making studio spaces more engaging and versatile, or a streaming service that allows people to exercise at home or in the office, virtual offerings are invaluable in opening up fitness clubs and their offering to a wider audience. By creating hi-tech, visually motivating destinations, we can ensure members are hooked from day one and continue to return time after time.

Virtual indoor cycling classes attract a wider audience to clubs
Virtual indoor cycling classes attract a wider audience to clubs
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