Industry veteran David Stalker urges physical activity sector to embrace active ageing opportunity
Active ageing presents the biggest opportunity for the physical activity sector today, according to industry veteran David Stalker.
Speaking on the first webinar on Active and Healthy Ageing from Innerva, the world’s leading provider of power-assisted exercise equipment, the president of EuropeActive and CEO of Myzone EMEA said it was time for operators to focus on older adults.
“As operators, if you can’t see that one of the biggest opportunities you have is the ageing population, then frankly I don’t know what you’re doing in the industry.”
In the UK there are 12 million people aged 65 and above. By 2035, more than half of adults are expected to be 50 or over and the number of people aged 85 and over is projected to double by 2050.
Following Covid, the sector has the chance to move from being fitness delivery partners to health delivery partners. He believes the physical activity sector can make a far greater difference to ageing people and the lifestyle diseases they suffer than the pharmaceutical industry.
“For the first time health is sitting at our door with the opportunity to deliver it and ageing is a crucial element of that, so let’s grab it,” he said.
Stalker, who addressed more than 100 professionals from the fitness, rehabilitation, healthcare and social care industries on the online seminar, said some of the UK’s larger trusts were starting to address active ageing, and he urged other operators to follow suit.
“As a sector, we have to embrace this challenge. It’s hard work, but it’s crucial that we make a difference to people’s lives. We must do it.”
Attendees also heard from Rachel Young, Research Fellow at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, who shared the findings of research showing the impact of Innerva power assisted equipment in combatting the natural effects of the ageing process.
Jon Hymus, Commercial Director at Innerva and webinar host, said: “The ageing population represents a seismic shift in our society and we can’t afford to ignore the opportunities it presents. Helping people to sustain physical activity as they age is vital to creating a healthier nation. Operators have to broaden their current offering if they want to support the health and wellbeing of older people.”
To access the presenatation from Rachel Young at the AWRC, Sheffield Hallam University see: The 5 Elements of Healthy Ageing Study
For more information on the Europe Active Active Ageing Comunities Project please see their website.
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