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outdoor exercise


DARRELL BOXALL MD, XN LEISURE SYSTEMS


industry should consider the way it thinks about exercise, and that participation would increase at clubs and leisure centres if more outdoor activity were offered alongside the gym offering, targeted at the appropriate market, as part of the health programme. Our industry supports running clubs, so why not offer older people a ramblers


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membership for example? That could include a free cup of coffee at the club at after each walk, making social interaction part of the draw, as well as potentially increasing secondary spend and introducing a different market to the club. For a younger generation, why not offer skate park activities, blow-up subbuteo football or free-running classes, with the emphasis on fun and inclusion.


DAMIAN LOCASCIO


MD, ACTIVE FACES always believed


a way of getting fit that was fun, affordable, easily accessible and welcoming to their friends and family, they would turn up. And that’s exactly what Active Faces is about: people aged seven to 70, some of whom have never exercised in their lives before, are joining us. We offi cially launched in Bromley


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in July 2011, holding sessions in community areas where people feel comfortable, such as parks, green spaces, working men’s clubs and schools – and they are fun. It’s all about getting fi t without realising it. We want to take it nationwide


and are receiving interest from local authorities and private sector operators. We feel we have a business model, and accompanying technology, that makes outreach work profi table. Active Faces gives operators the opportunity to cost-effectively use their staff for outreach while building their profi le in the community, driving up membership and potentially feeding people into their facilities.


that, if you could give people


GILL STEWART


DIRECTOR, NORDIC WALKING UK


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ur research shows that one- third of UK adults prefer to


exercise outdoors. They also want to have fun and do something that does not feel like ‘exercise’. Some of our clients simply love


being outdoors, and already run or cycle. Many triathletes, runners and cyclists use Nordic Walking as whole body cross-training that does not fatigue their legs. But many do it to be more active: most of our clients say they are drawn to Nordic Walking because they dislike the gym, where they say they feel out of place. However, many venues delivering


Nordic Walking report that, once clients gain confi dence in them as fi tness professionals, they are open to trying other forms of exercise. We advise leisure centres and


health clubs to use Nordic Walking UK as a way to take their expertise and brand to the community – it’s a brilliant sales tool, building a facility’s credibility and potentially driving more people to your doors.


e’re talking about creating an Olympic legacy, but how many Olympic sports take place cooped up indoors? I believe the


Offering a ramblers club may draw older people to your facility


JIM PREECE


MD, BRITISH MILITARY FITNESS


been gym members, which does suggest that they have tried it and are now looking for something different. Being outdoors is one of the things our members like, and although we don’t tend to get new joiners in the winter, the drop-off is only about 20 per cent. Many people are incentivised to keep going through the dark months, because otherwise they wouldn’t get outdoors. I do think that outdoor exercise


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can engage new people – it’s less intimidating and there’s no complicated equipment to get to grips with. However, what we do is an entirely different proposition and business model from gyms. We offer group exercise that’s instructor-led and social, so it feels more like a club. The classes we run are set up for the outdoors – we use the terrain, and each session is different. Gyms could benefi t from


running outdoor summer sessions. But, in my experience, outdoor fi tness does not fi t their business model, which is based on a facility, equipment and people mostly training independently.


Nordic Walking can be a great sales tool to attract new members


64 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


healthclub@leisuremedia.com kath hudson


march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


ighty per cent of our 20,000 members have previously


PIC: AISPIX BY IMAGE SOURCE /WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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