Retirement villages across the country continue to play a significant role in promoting the physiological, social and psychological benefits of an active lifestyle to the UK’s increasing older population.
Providers are therefore looking to fitness equipment manufacturers to help them create accessible fitness and engaging experiences within their facilities.
The Audley Group, provider of luxury retirement villages, commissioned Life Fitness, the global leader in commercial fitness equipment, to design bespoke gyms at each site, as part of the Group’s commitment to promoting an active lifestyle.
“We are focused on raising the awareness of active ageing amongst our owners and encouraging the use of fitness equipment forms a huge part of this,” says Robert Diaper, General Manager at Audley St. George’s Place.
The Audley Group sees retirement very differently. Since the first site was built in 2003 in Kent, Audley now boasts a portfolio of 19 villages across the country. Properties include houses, cottages and apartments, and with each purchase owners have access to the Audley Club health and beauty facilities, encouraging them to live an independent and healthy lifestyle.
Life Fitness has created bespoke gym designs that encourage and support a healthier community for each Audley village. Each site comprises equipment from across its brand portfolio and the latest in digital technology, permitting users to stream video or audio, or follow exercise programmes designed by the Audley staff, boosting engagement and enhancing the fitness experience.
Products from the SCIFIT range, specialists in accessible fitness equipment for rehabilitation and active ageing, form the core equipment provision across all Audley sites: “One of the key benefits in working with Life Fitness is the range of products they offer and the SCIFIT equipment in particular is fantastic, and we’ve seen some huge advantages for our owners,” said Robert.
Found in many of the Audley fitness suites and providing a total strength and cardiovascular workout is the SCIFIT Seated Upper Body PRO1000, chosen for its accessibility and low starting resistance, making it easy to use with limited adjustments. Alongside this, the REX™ Total Body Recumbent Elliptical provides a total body workout; its smooth, natural knee movement replicates climbing stairs, and proves useful for those owners suffering with problematic knee joints or mobility problems.
For those more physically able, the SCIFIT SXT7000 Total Body Elliptical trainer delivers a natural total body movement that creates a true-to-life, natural walking motion with Bio-Flex™ footbeds that improve foot and ankle circulation. It is SCIFIT’s comprehensive fitness solutions that lets users of all ages and abilities experience improvement at every level.
Also in use across the sites is equipment from both Life Fitness and Cybex brands, to include treadmills, upright exercise bikes, rowers and functional training equipment.
Mrs Gould, an owner at Audley St. George’s Place, has seen significant improvements in her general health and wellbeing since using the gym: “the equipment is very easy to use and with the support of the gym staff, I am happier, fitter and feel much better overall.”
Alongside the state-of-the-art fitness suites, owners are supported by an expert team of health and leisure staff, all of whom are trained by the Life Fitness Academy, Life Fitness’s global training and education arm. Workshops are devised and led by expert educators to provide staff with the knowledge and understanding of the equipment and how to incorporate each piece into bespoke workouts, whilst also creating positive experiences for users.
“The Life Fitness Academy training was brilliant and gave me a new perspective on how to engage with and encourage more of our owners to use the facilities,” said Tom Fulwell, Leisure Club Manager at Audley St. George’s Place.
“The training gave me the skills and confidence to target those owners that might not have considered using the facilities before.”
Active ageing has become an increasing area of focus for Life Fitness, and working with customers like the Audley Group to deliver programmes that support the older population helps it achieve its mission of getting the world moving: “Our partnership with Audley has gone from strength to strength and combining our equipment, education and digital solutions has created environments that makes their owners more comfortable and ultimately encourages a healthier, more active community,” Craig Cocking, Life Fitness UK Sales Director concludes.