Thursday, July 25, 2024

Expert predictions for the year ahead in health and fitness | HCM Handbook

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photo: uk active

In recent years our industry has survived many challenges through true collaboration – from sharing data to sharing a unified voice on areas of common ground. With the UK approaching a General Election, our sector has huge relevance in providing solutions to the nation’s biggest challenges – the economy and health. NHS integration, occupational health and our role in improving mental health can form key pillars of our offer.

Alongside this, our mission to reduce inequalities will see further focus on engaging under-represented groups, such as women and girls, and people from under-served communities. There are clear opportunities for organisations of all types and sizes to play a role.

During the next year, we’ll be working to ensure the bonds between the health of the nation and its economic growth become even stronger, and that our leaders across industry and government understand this. We’ll be undertaking the most comprehensive programme of work yet to showcase and evidence the myriad ways our sector delivers health improvement and subsequently economic improvement.

As well as looking at our contribution to the UK’s economy and health landscape, the sector must continue to make strides in its own improvements, by striving to meet higher standards of inclusion and diversity and making spaces as accessible and as inclusive as possible.

To be fit to play our fullest role nationally, we must embrace a renewed focus on inclusion and the expectations of all consumers, to experience a seamless digital service across our facilities, equipment and digital platforms. These fundamental challenges sit alongside environmental sustainability as the biggest areas of risk to our sector overall, and UK Active will be doing everything we can to support members on these journeys of improvement.

We should be optimistic about the future. Our sector has an incredible opportunity to seize the opportunities presented in the UK and globally, powered by the unique energy that flows through our sector and the talent within our teams. This year is a crucial one in UK Active’s Vision 2030 strategy and there’s a clear sense of direction and support from across our membership.

Going forward, UK Active will be launching quarterly updates on the research being undertaken in collaboration with insight specialist, Savanta, the UK Active Consumer Engagement report. This will provide valuable insights into consumer attitudes and trends and will be used to inform the sector on how to create a more inclusive service with well-informed and targeted campaigns.

Last month the first report was published, which was the result of five waves of polling activity from September 2022 to January 2024, with 10,000 people questioned. The most popular reason for joining a gym, cited by 82 per cent of respondents, is to improve, or maintain, physical strength and fitness.

This was followed by improving mental health and wellbeing, including managing anxiety or depression (79 per cent.)

Improving overall confidence and improving and maintaining physical appearance both scored 75 per cent, while 67 per cent took out a membership to improve their sleep.

Cost was the main reason for not taking out a gym membership, with 69 per cent still considering it too expensive. And cost was also the main reason for ending a membership; followed by not using the health club enough; the impact of the cost of living crisis; lost motivation and not having enough time.

Our mission to reduce inequalities will see further focus on engaging under-represented groups, such as women and girls

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