Our sector needs to evolve, as the profi le of gym goers is likely to change, says Lynn Almond
We feel that Myzone Effort Points could offer the government a proven turnkey solution to monitor physical activity as part of the Fit Miles scheme: 1300 MEPs each month equates to the WHO guidelines for physical activity. MEPs have already been used to good effect partnering with the NHS on prehab programmes.
This is a refreshing move and the chance to work collaboratively with the NHS Lynn Almond GLL: regional health intervention manager As a leisure employee, my kneejerk reaction to this news was to feel the health and fitness sector had been overlooked, but after looking deeper into it from a wider public health perspective, I see this as good news. Conversations are changing and this is the most open and accessible opportunity that I’ve seen in a long time. When you look at research studies into the outcomes of Nectar and Air Miles you can see why the government has chosen this route, it’s all about incentivising people to change behaviour by making small changes. This initiative has the potential to reach the whole population, providing vital insight into individual behaviours, which will open up a multitude of opportunities for our sector. Going forward, the sector needs to evolve, as the profile of gym goers is likely to change. If we’re going to survive, we need to refocus both our purpose and the customers we’re trying to attract. COVID has shone 46
Issue 4 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021
a light on the health inequalities and emphasised that more people need to get active. Also some of the super motivated – a cohort the sector relies on for memberships – have found other ways to exercise. Membership models may change as membership could start to come through referrals from NHS pathways. Operators need to ask themselves questions: what is our purpose in terms of contribution to reducing health inequalities and which groups are a priority in the places we serve? This is a refreshing move and the chance to work collaboratively with the NHS. It’s a sign that prevention is now being considered: something which I am witnessing in my role working with NHS integrated care systems. This is just the start and there will be a raft of opportunities. As the sector starts afresh after the lockdowns, this is the time to refocus, link in with the prevention agenda, be a support system for the NHS and refocus on the customers we’re trying to attract. ●