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POLICY

Living Longer Better As our sector starts to recover, there will be changes in the needs of communities, consumers and the provision of opportunities. To explore this subject we hosted a virtual round table to better understand views on key workforce questions

The What? Sport England tells us four out of 10 people are less active now than before the pandemic.

The Why? As a nation, we need to learn lessons from COVID-19 and prove the value of physical activity to consumers, the health sector and the government.

The How? Our facilities need to become more inclusive and community-based, but what does this mean for our workforce?

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Issue 5 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021

Muir Gray Optimal Ageing

Tara Dillon CIMSPA

Stuart Armstrong Sport England

Elaine Briggs FutureFit Training

The debate What will be the main impact of COVID-19 on activity levels? Muir: There’s evidence activity levels are down and weight is up. There will be increased awareness of the impact of inactivity and an opportunity for the fitness industry workforce to reach subgroups of society they’ve never reached before. Tara: A post-pandemic world represents one of the greatest opportunities for our sector in a generation. Government messaging constantly reinforced the importance of staying active throughout this last year and we know many people have taken steps for the first time to develop an active lifestyle. Gyms and leisure centres will be influential, but we must remember not everyone wants to join a gym. Many enjoy a plethora of ways of staying active, and new habits have formed. Ensuring our sector broadens its offer in providing safe and enjoyable active environments that everyone can access is essential. Stuart: The pandemic will leave a legacy of behaviour change. The economic impact will mean disposable income available for sport and leisure will be limited. People will look for low-cost, flexible, hyper-local activity. Elaine: The UK is one of the most obese countries in Europe, so we must reposition and reimagine our sector and ecosystem to enable people to be more active. The gaps between those who have access to exercise and physical activity and the motivation to take part and those who don’t, will be wider than before. There will be a need for our sector to rethink how to engage with those people to save the nation’s health.