This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
exercise prescription

Laura McStay investigates the health and fitness sector’s differing approaches to exercise prescription

W hen the government’s

‘Be Active, Be Healthy’ campaign launched last year, its proposed outcomes

borrowed from our industry’s methods for assessment and intervention, such as our pre-activity questionnaires. Specifically, ‘Be Active’ encourages the use of the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ), a Department of Health-validated tool to assess activity levels among adults aged 16–74 years, and subsequently to generate a physical activity index: Active, Moderately Active, Moderately Inactive and Inactive. In turn, NICE guidance recommends that patients scoring anything less than Active are offered an intervention – an “exercise prescription”. Typically, this is a patient-led commitment to increased levels of activity and exercise, with re-assessment by the health professional at three, six and 12 months.

Understanding the needs, wants

and motivations of the deconditioned and inactive who can be persuaded to progress from a 30-minute walk to entering the gym or studio is a specialist skill in its own right; retaining these clients is arguably as much about personal development as it is about programming. So the question is, once patients become clients – when they pass from the surgery to the studio – does the assessment provided by fi tness professionals, as opposed to healthcare professionals, give these individuals what they need to move forward? Recent research by customer insight

specialists Leisure-net Solutions shows the importance of an ongoing induction process: 76 per cent of new members questioned cited it as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when joining a new gym. And yet, when asked later to rate the fi rst six months’ of membership, satisfaction

An ongoing induction process is important for maintaining patients’ focus

levels had fallen below 50 per cent, in part due to our failure to follow through and continually assess and re-assess. Our clients may be extremely

motivated to lose weight or become fi tter – and may even perceive that health clubs offer the solutions they need to achieve those things – but if we don’t encounter them as individuals, and satisfy their needs as well as desires, we can’t expect to retain their loyalty.

personal touch We know what it looks like when we’re not quite hitting the mark – just ask your customers during their exit survey. A more useful question, as the

‘Be Active’ guidelines themselves ask, is: “What does success look like?” What does effective, empathetic exercise prescription look like, and what difference will it make in our gyms and for our clients? Sports science and sports medicine

consultant Tony Lycholat argues that client assessment should retain elements of that initial GP consultation. Rather than aiming to tick boxes and churn out an off-the-shelf exercise programme, we should be delivering bespoke prescriptions tailored to needs and context. “There are several stages to undertaking a client assessment correctly,” he says. “The fi rst is to understand your client’s needs and, ideally, their past exercise and injury record. Secondly, there needs to be a self-checking element. What is the evidence for my diagnosis? Is it based in sound science and sound fi tness practice? If it isn’t, then you need to go back and revisit your fi ndings.” Further, argues Lycholat, the fi tness

professional needs to be aware of the context in which the GP has referred the client. “There’s a distinction between physical activity and exercise, and the GP will be very clear on what this distinction is. If a patient has been given an ‘exercise prescription’ by their GP, it’s because they [the GP] believe a structured exercise programme will be benefi cial, in addition to any physical activity undertaken outside of the gym. For example, the patient may have been

38 Read Health Club Management online at july 2010 © cybertrek 2010


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
Produced with Yudu -