David Lloyd Clubs (DLC) has revealed plans to become the first fitness operator to commit to having a fitness trainer aged 55 or over in every one of its clubs by the end of 2022.
The move has been designed to attract more older people to DLC clubs by offering them support from fitness professionals they can more easily relate to.
It follows recent research by Public Health England and ukactive, which revealed that older age groups feel more self-conscious when exercising in public and, as a result, workout less often than other age groups.
As part of the commitment, DLC – which is set to open its 100th club in the UK later this year – is introducing a training programme designed to empower all of its fitness teams to deliver support to its older members.
Teams will receive education on developing confidence and motivation, offering nutritional advice and creating individual training programmes to suit specific needs.
To coincide with the announcement, DLC has also published a new report – called The Age of Activity
– which looks at the attitudes of the over-55s toward exercise and fitness, combining original research with personal stories and the insights of experts.
It reveals that, as of Q1 2019, more than 18 per cent of the membership base of DLC was aged over-55, a figure which has grown by 10 per cent in the last 12 months.
The figure is in line with the general ageing of the population. It is predicted that, by 2030, the number of people in the UK aged 60 years or over will be 20 million, up 31 per cent compared to today’s figure of 15.3 million. By 2040, nearly one in four people (24.2 per cent) will be aged 65 or over; one in seven of us will be aged over 75.
Commenting on the move to invest in older trainers, Glenn Earlam, CEO, David Lloyd Clubs, said: "As our population continues to age, we believe it’s our social duty to do this.
"We hope the rest of the sector will follow our example.
"The whole ethos of David Lloyd Clubs is to be welcoming to all ages. It’s something on which we pride ourselves, and something we very deliberately nurture and promote across all our clubs, whether it’s through the diverse programming we offer, the way we select our teams, or the wonderful social aspect of our clubs.
"As a result, where many operators have a skew towards younger generations, our
membership truly does span the full age range. As at the end of February 2019, over 18 per
cent of our membership base was over the age of 55 years – a figure that has grown by 10
per cent over the last 12 months alone.
"Given the wide range of health benefits that being active can bring, especially as we age, we are proud of the role our clubs are already playing in helping people age well."
Jon Kohn, head of commercial fitness at David Lloyd Clubs, added: “At David Lloyd Clubs our ethos is to provide an environment where everyone of all ages feel welcome and inspired. Our more mature members have told us that having older fitness trainers in our clubs will help them more readily embrace exercise.
"We have responded to our members and ukactive and Public Health England’s call by committing to a fitness trainer aged 55 or over at each of our clubs on average by the end of 2022, as well as training a world-class workforce of all ages with the skills to engage and support older people.
"This recommendation was made in part to help ease mounting pressures on the NHS, and we’re delighted to be the first organisation of our kind to put that recommendation into practice. We hope the rest of the fitness and wellbeing industry follows suit, making sure that our promise becomes everyone’s promise.”
To read the full The Age of Activity report, click here.