EMD UK, Launch their white paper entitled 'Sweating Your Assets: The value of group exercise.'
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
On Thursday 9th May, EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise, published their white paper at the Elevate conference 2019. The white paper entitled Sweating Your Assets: The value of group exercise highlights the growth of this popular activity and demonstrates how it has moved inactive people into a regular physical activity habit.
Sweating Your Assets, the first white paper to be released by EMD UK, showcases the work group exercise has done in creating a healthier nation through exercise, but notes that the activity is widely undervalued as a gateway to activity, not just by the public but also by the fitness industry.
Group exercise is often an afterthought in leisure centre membership promotions, where the marketing line “free classes included” frequently and instantly undervalues the activity. Many leisure and fitness operators are under pressure to reduce costs and offer cheaper services. Cuts to local authority budgets, the rise of the budget gym chains and growing competition for leisure spend mean the fitness market place is as competitive as it’s ever been. However, group exercise can strengthen a gym’s membership retention. A 2013 study by The Retention People found that people who attend group exercise classes are 26% less likely to cancel their gym membership. For this reason, and others outlined in Sweating Your Assets, health club operators and leisure providers must do more to promote the value of group exercise to their local communities to create healthier, more active people. With the advent of social prescribing becoming more and more prevalent in order to lessen the burden on the NHS, leisure facilities can welcome more new customers through their doors. As an alternative solution for medical rehabilitation, these new participants have a genuine interest in attending the exercise classes on a regular basis.
Investment in group exercise and its workforce is key to promoting positive activity changes in society. EMD UK, the national governing body behind the report, have identified that the group exercise workforce is also endemically undervalued. Instructors are the second biggest influencer on group exercise attendance and the face of the activity. Despite their work in helping people to get active, many instructors have not had a pay rise in over 10 years. Investing in instructor pay, continued professional development and understanding the value group exercise brings to their business all ways that health club operators can raise the profile of group exercise for the good of the nation.
Emma Forward, Chief Operating Officer of EMD UK and author of the white paper, said “As an activity, the benefits of group exercise are far-reaching. It is not just the individual participants who profit from better physical health, but wider society; increased mental welfare, lower stress, the opportunity to meet new people, fewer sick days, a reason to leave the house – all of these culminate in a healthier, more active society who are less dependent on social care.
“As the national governing body for group exercise, we are calling on the public, local authorities, health club operators, the workforce and the industry to recognise the value of group exercise. With one million more people participating since 2016, many more inactive people will convert to a regular physical activity habit. With a whole-system approach, we can achieve a healthier nation through exercise and Sweating Your Assets marks the start of this challenge for EMD UK.”
The white paper is now available to download from www.emduk.org/sweating-your-assets