Social prescribing, open data and community-wide behaviour change were the major themes at this year’s Elevate conference, which was attended by more than 8,133 professionals from 36 countries; a 94 per cent increase on 2017.
The two-day event, which was held at ExCeL London, attracted decision makers from gyms, academics, allied healthcare professionals, policy makers, charity workers, local authorities, leisure operators, sport scientists and physical therapists.
The inaugural Thought Leader’s Conference was a hugely popular addition to the 2018 show, attracting capacity audiences to hear a range of experts debate the issue of physical inactivity. Keynote speakers included Tracey Crouch MP, Dr Michael Mosley and Sir Muir Gray CBE.
Social prescribing was a hot topic at the conference, with panellists exploring how GPs can integrate this within their model of clinical care, what the implications are for the physical activity sector and the relationship with primary healthcare professionals. As panel session, which included Dr William Bird MBE, CEO and Founder at Intelligent Health, highlighted the shocking statistic that 51 per cent of all GP referrals for social prescribing are for loneliness. Dr Bird said: “Fulfilment should be the goal for life. Not simply health as the end point. We’re beginning to see an obsession with health and a fear of dying.”
Tracey Crouch, recently appointed Minister for Loneliness, spoke passionately off-script about the effects of loneliness and need for a government strategy to tackle this issue as well as social isolation. On the social good physical activity brings in other areas of public policy she added: “Please don’t underestimate the contribution you can make to tackle loneliness; simple activities such as health walks are a way for people from all walks of life to get outside together.”
Fiona Bull MBE, from the World Health Organisation provided an inspirational preview of WHO’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, which aims to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in global inactivity. In a rousing message to sports providers, she said: “You’re responsible for whether people become active or not.”
Talking about the show, which is now in its third year, Dr Michael Mosley, Science Presenter, Writer and Executive Producer at the BBC, said: “It’s a useful way of networking, meeting new people and discovering new ideas. This event is about trying to encourage people to do the sort of activities which are likely to improve their health and sense of wellbeing.”
Along with the Thought Leaders’ conference, the event hosted over 300 speakers in four seminar streams: Strategies for an Active Nation; Evidence Base – Physical Activity for Health & Wellbeing; Performance – Maximising Potential; and The Business of Physical Activity. Topics debated included menopause, exercise and cancer, behavioural change, mental health and planning for success.
Running alongside the seminar programme was the main Exhibition where over 300 companies showcased innovative products and services. This year’s exhibition also included new sections – The Studio and Tech Lab.
Many exhibitors chose to launch new products and services to the UK market at Elevate 2018 including the UFC range from Dyaco, Octane Fitness’ new Max Trainer machine, Powerhouse Fitness’ Taurus commercial range fitness pieces and Woodway’s FITBENCH.
Kerstin Obenauer, UK Country Director eGym, said: “Elevate has been fantastic for us. On the exhibition floor we launched seven new training programmes. The stand was superbly positioned at the front of the show and our team was busy all day engaging with new and existing partners. All in all, a fantastic event.”
The Elevate Innovation Awards took place again this year, recognising outstanding products and solutions that tackle inactivity.
The five winners were Ethics Leisure who scooped up two awards for the Total Gym Row Trainer and Total Gym Elevate Encompass products, Kinetic Insight: Kinetic Insight Pro, SportsArt: ECOPOWR Products, and Smartlife Inc: Smartlife.
Max Quittenton, Founder and Director of Elevate, said: “It’s been another fantastic two days at this year’s Elevate and its so rewarding seeing the show getting bigger and better each year. The record number of attendees is testament to how important addressing inactivity is to professionals across the UK.”
“Elevate will take place between 8-9 May, at the ExCeL London. We will be revealing further news about the 2019 show in due course.”
To keep up to date with all the latest Elevate news, please visit: www.elevatearena.com