The UK’s largest cross-sector event focused on tackling inactivity, Elevate brings together experts from a wide range of backgrounds to focus on this increasingly important and complex societal challenge.
This year’s attendees will have the opportunity to hear from over 200 speakers from the physical activity sector, academia, healthcare, government, commercial industry, local authorities and human performance. Speakers will share perspectives, ideas and the latest innovations to get people more active.
In addition to the free presentations and workshops running throughout the two days, attendees can also visit the expanded exhibition space which will include nine feature areas, three attractions, a dedicated stage and over 150 stands – all with a focus on physical activity, health and performance.
Explaining the need for a conference like Elevate, Dr Justin Varney of Public Health England – a speaker at this year’s event – says: “If it were as simple as a single barrier, or even just a couple of barriers, we might have tackled physical inactivity years ago. However, much like obesity, inactivity is a complex problem requiring action across the whole system to change the environments in which we live, as well as the cultural norms relating to physical activity.”
The business of activity
Alongside the existing three seminars streams – Future Performance, Inclusivity: Creating an Active Nation, and Physical Activity for Health and Wellbeing – this year’s event sees the launch of a new seminar stream: The Business of Physical Activity. The wide range of seminars in this stream will consider how marketing, finance, policy, digital and facilities management are transforming the physical activity business to meet the needs of consumer.
Opening this stream will be a discussion entitled ‘The changing shape of the industry’, which will consider how the fitness sector is evolving and segmenting. With contributions from companies such as Tough Mudder, David Lloyd Leisure, Heartcore, activbod and Fitbug, it will look at the new competition, what this means for traditional operators, and how the sector can evolve and adapt.
Meanwhile Nick Perchard, head of communities at the Premier League, will join a session looking at the relationships between big brands and physical activity promotion. Perchard says: “As an industry, sport has so much to offer, but can do more to engage with health professionals in particular. To do that, we need to learn to communicate using their language.
“At the Premier League, we really focus on making sure activity is enjoyable first and foremost. There’s a tendency to forget that if it’s not fun, young people in particular will choose to do other things.”
Activity for health
Physical activity for improved health is another key element of the event and Dr Benjamin Ellis, senior clinical policy advisor at Arthritis Research UK, says that anyone interested in learning about the benefits of physical activity for the millions of people suffering with arthritis should really attend his session.
“I’ll be discussing how we can collectively support people with arthritis to become physically active, so they can enjoy the benefits of reduced pain and disability. Working with the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England, Arthritis Research UK has developed a tiered framework for what should be provided to deliver this support.
“We’d like to discuss how physical activity and fitness communities can support making this widely available,” he explains.
Asked how we can best promote physical activity in the UK, Dr Joe Piggin – programme director at Loughborough University and another of the Elevate event’s speakers – says: “For me, an important aspect to develop is opportunities for older adults.
“Sport and physical activities often focus on young people. Of course, young people are important, but this emphasis on youth can leave older adults marginalised from marketing, facilities, services and funding.”
Meanwhile, with her personal experience of working across Greater Manchester Leisure and Cultural Trust with its workforce of over 4,000 people, Sarah Broad will join a panel exploring how to create more productive, sustainable and responsive workforces.
Broad says: “Nurturing our workforce is the most important asset we have in tackling inactivity.”
Explore the floor
With more exhibition space available at this year’s new venue, Elevate 2017 will feature several new attractions.
• The Stage will host a programme of demonstrations that focus on group exercise, active ageing, inclusivity and functional training.
• The Tech Lab will include presentations on a wide range of fitness, sports and health promotion technology.
• The Evidence Base will return for 2017 to consider the latest research to support the health benefits of physical activity.
Max Quittenton, director of Elevate, says: “As physical activity continues its bold ascent up all manner of social, political and commercial agendas, we’re delighted to announce that Elevate will grow by 65 per cent in 2017.
“Remaining completely free to attend and now moving to ExCeL; Elevate 2017 will host more brilliant exhibitors and expert speakers, who’ll be presenting a huge variety of carefully selected content, alongside the very latest innovations designed to get people moving more.’’