Sometimes in the history of an industry, there comes a tipping point which propels it into the stratosphere. It can be anything from the advent of a new technology, to the launch of a new company or the arrival of a groundbreaking piece of legislation.
The future is defined by how industries respond to these transformational moments when they occur.
In January this year, we had the huge privilege of reporting on a once in a lifetime story which had huge implications for both the wellbeing of the nation and the future of the UK’s health, fitness and sports industries.
That news was the publication of a report from Public Health England (PHE) called Everybody Active, Every Day.
In it, PHE presented a new national framework which was designed to combat obesity, advising that people should be active every day – the first time a government agency had ever made this recommendation.
This was a gift for the industry to rival the food industry’s ‘Five a Day’ mantra – something to grab with both hands and use energetically to raise awareness of the vital role exercise and activity play in good health.
But while every food supplier involved with the sale of fruit and vegetables jumped on the Five a Day recommendation, plastered it all over packaging and marketing materials and embedded it into the nation’s consciousness, we’ve just left ours on the shelf to rot.
Imagine that - the government recommends we eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day and soon, pretty much the entire nation is aware and is changing its eating habits.
But when the government tells us we need to be active every day, the activity industry simply can’t be bothered to take it and run with it. Nothing changes. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic. No wonder we can’t get the government to take us seriously.
I believe it’s the greatest opportunity the health and fitness industry has ever had to enter the mainstream and we’re in danger of simply forgetting it ever happened. No-one’s talking about it, no-one’s doing anything about it and it’s in danger of being lost in the mists of time.
But it’s not too late. We need all industry bodies who have influence to make the promotion of this message a top priority – not just this week or this month, but for the years to come and in a powerful and effective way.
It needs to be part of the bedrock of what we do.
We need a campaign, a name – how about ‘Active Every Day’? – a brand and robust, sustainable routes to market to get this message across and bring it alive for people, so they’re motivated to do something about it.
The health club industry has never organised itself to build a direct relationship with the consumer, which is perhaps why this report has been overlooked, but we must do that now and find ways to permeate people’s lives, so in years to come, there are two powerful health mantras to live by – Five a Day and Active Every Day.
Liz Terry, editor @elizterry