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Shirley Cramer CBE
Chief Executive, RSPH

The public health challenges of the 21st century are many, varied, and not capable of being tackled by the core public health workforce alone. That is why one of the key focuses of the work of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has for some time been developing, upskilling and empowering the wider public health workforce – those professions with trusted access to the public and the opportunity to influence health – to help take the strain.

Steve Ward,
Chief Executive, ukactive

[emaillocker] It may seem obvious, especially given the epidemic of physical inactivity with which we are now faced, that exercise professionals have an important role to play as part of this extended public health workforce. They are in a prime position to get the nation moving, and spread all the associated health and wellbeing benefits that physical activity provides, from weight management to social connectedness.

However, what is perhaps less obvious, and until now, less acknowledged, is the potential exercise professionals hold to do so much more for our health and wellbeing – from advising on nutrition to signposting to smoking cessation and mental health support.

This report is the product of a shared ambition on the part of RSPH and ukactive, supported by Technogym, to make such a potential enhanced public health role a reality. As we go on to demonstrate, there is a clear appetite on behalf of public and professionals alike to make this happen, and the potential rewards for the public’s health are significant.

Undeniably, there are challenges and barriers to be addressed and overcome – identified and acknowledged here – and this report sets out a ‘starter for 10’ of recommendations in order to do so. With the full will, cooperation and support of the health community and the physical activity sector, these barriers can be negotiated, and the exercise professionals workforce can make an invaluable contribution to supporting the public’s health.

Steve Barton,
Managing Director, Technogym

We are delighted to be a sponsor of the RSPH and ukactive report into the physical activity workforce and the role of the fitness industry to assist the public health workforce. Technogym is recognised globally as The Wellness Company, and we champion the benefits of the ‘Wellness lifestyle’, consisting of a physical activity, nutrition and mental approach by using inspiring facilities and educating exercise professionals to provide the very best direction and advice for the public.

The Technogym Ecosystem allows fitness operators to develop new business models by delivering personalised and engaging wellness experiences to their members not only in their clubs, but also wherever and whenever their clients choose to train around the world. This is particularly relevant to the nature of consumers growing needs for support and education inside and outside the facility, whether on holiday, at work or on the go.

The fitness industry is characterised by a dedicated and committed workforce who are providing support and advice; the report highlights that 85% of exercise professionals already talk to clients about health and wellbeing issues. However there are clear opportunities for stronger links to local health professionals, as well as support with training to enhance knowledge and communication skills.

Technogym provides training and support to fitness professionals around product and digital applications, as well as knowledge days focusing on the equally important topics of member communication and coaching to provide clear goals and structure. Customers are growing increasingly knowledgeable about wellness, so health and fitness professionals must connect, adapt and enhance this knowledge to help it grow further.

The 10 recommendations of this report provide a refreshing summary of the opportunities for the industry. Each of us within the fitness industry are required to play a role in enhancing the role of public health and supporting the public’s health.