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Q. How can medics support gym owners?
Johnny Everett, Preston

A. Gym owners are in a great position to help people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes, provided their PTs are appropriately trained. I’m working with Active IQ to ensure its qualifications and training centres work with the latest research and evidence. Equipping a fitness professional with the knowledge and skills to change behaviour and consult effectively has the potential to really make a difference. We’re not looking to create healthcare professionals in gyms. We’re looking to harness the unique relationship fitness professionals have with their clients to bring about lasting beneficial changes. By arming fitness professionals with a better understanding of disease, the latest evidence and advanced consultation skills, healthcare professionals can refer patients to a gym with confidence. As part of Active IQ’s push to drive this understanding, my first webinar last month helped to support training providers in delivering consultation and behaviour change skills.

In addition to GP referral clients, gym owners will have people come through their doors of their own volition. This is a great opportunity provided our fitness professionals have the skills to recognise the support these members need to ensure progress and retention. Gym owners need to look beyond simply bringing people with chronic disease into the gym or studio as many will find this too much too soon. They are more likely to engage with options such as walking or other community physical activity groups or bespoke studio sessions combined with a supportive social frame. Not only will this cater for chronic disease clients but also attract others starting out on their physical activity journey. Medics supporting gym owners will enable fitness professionals to attract and retain members with health concerns and thus play a key role improving the health of their local community.

Dr Dane Vishnubala (MBBS PGCME MRCGP FHEA),
Chief Medical Adviser at Active IQ