There are many viable strategies to increase physical activity across all sub-sections of society. Niall Jordan, CEO & Founder of Activpoints UK Ltd, explores how local authorities, leisure trusts and other operators can implement rewards-based motivational programmes to increase physical activity and address health inequalities.
The 2019 edition of the ukactive Active Lives Adult Survey reported that overall inactivity amongst adults is at its lowest level recorded. However, it also highlighted that certain groups – particularly those from less affluent families and Black and Asian families – are not seeing activity levels increase significantly.
Similarly, the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey from ukactive showed an overall increase in activity amongst young people. However, 29% of children and young people are doing less than 30 minutes of activity a day. Children from less affluent families are more likely to be inactive, alongside those from ethnic minority groups. From the age of 5 upwards girls are also less active than boys.
International research into the impact of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle or sedentary behaviour suggests that a variety of serious health conditions may be linked to pro-longed periods of sitting. Community interest company, Get Britain Standing, reports that sitting for 8 hours a day can increase your risk of contracting heart disease, cancer and diabetes by 40%.
Strategies To Increase Physical Activity To Support Health Inequality Targets
The government is increasingly focused on social prescribing and other initiatives to emphasise preventative measures for illness. Local authorities, leisure trusts and other organisations need to focus on how to better serve all sections of society by putting in place effective strategies to increase physical activity.
How can local authorities, leisure trusts and other organisations better address health inequalities in a quantitative way that offers the potential to attract public funding? Many strategies and options are available, a step in the right direction is to look for smart ways to better engage groups that may or may not be using local leisure facilities.
Rewards programmes, such as Activpoints (AP), are one option that when successfully implemented can have a significant impact on the long-term activity levels and health of at risk groups within society.
What is Activpoints (AP)?
AP is a customisable software as a service / data as a service solution. It delivers user activity data visualisation and insight dashboards, points rewards module, voucher codes and digital currency all on one easy to navigate cloud hosted platform for both the end user and the organisation administrating the programme.
For local authorities, leisure trusts and other organisations looking to meet targets around solving health inequalities and to potentially attract public funding, AP delivers a simple out of the box solution.
Operators With A Strategy To Increase Physical Activity Benefit From Activpoints
The application is multifaceted and cost effective for organisations of all size. Larger operators or leisure trusts can use a centralised dashboard for all sites, with individual logins for managers to access data for their specific site. The dashboard allows organisations to add and track multiple internal and community programmes and initiatives in one place. Users self-register online avoiding staff administration workload. Once registered the user data is automatically uploaded in real-time to Active Points and visible to both parties.
AP is also suitable for single site operators and community fitness groups working on strategies to increase physical health of the local community, such as running clubs, football teams, swimming clubs and boot camps etc.
The ability to support participants when they are not on site provides operators and trusts with a tool to holistically support the wellness and fitness of members. For trusts and organisations utilising wireless datahubs, AP turns any venue into a local hub for all participating groups placing them at the heart of the community.
AP creates an additional dialogue for operators with their membership that goes beyond the workaday subscription/ membership administration.
Additional benefits to operators include:
- Zero staff admin time
- No software installation & maintenance
- No hardware required
- Own branded interface
- Retention/ rewards tool
- Cost effective solution
Providing Motivation To Increase Physical Health & Fitness
AP can utilise 3 sets of datapoints. Attendance and subscription payments are additional points allocated for non-tracker users.
- Wearable tracker activity data
- Gym/facility attendance (Additional API required)
- Subscription payments
Points are allocated based on any single or all 3 datapoints.
- Wearable trackers – 3 points awarded daily when goal target hit. 12 points required weekly to unlock access to the rewards
- Gym/facility attendance – Points are awarded for attendance tracked by operators customer/member relationship management system
- Subscription payments – Points awarded per successful membership payment tracked by Harlands Group
Partnering with the top experience providers, high street names and global brands, AP rewards users with savings on days out and adrenaline filled adventures, at restaurants, on short breaks, on fitness trackers and more.
Activpoints rewards are also highly customisable. The AP platform also facilitates inhouse operator promotions and supports local business partnerships already in place. Operators can additionally add their own saver codes for goods and services available in the venue.
In addition, users can collect Activcoins with every offer and can spend their coins on shopping cards/ vouchers for major UK retailers including supermarkets. Retail partners include Amazon, Tesco, M&S, John Lewis, Argos, Clarks and many more.
The breadth of rewards available creates stickiness with users across many demographic groups and contributes to long-term motivation to meet health and fitness goals. Making it a successful strategy for increasing physical activity.
In Action – Jamie Carragher ‘Watch Us Get Fit’
Jamie Carragher’s ‘Watch Us Get Fit’, uses AP to motivate sports and PE participation by children. It helps schools to develop programmes that engage students and parents in the fight against in-activity.
Developed in-partnership with Garmin, the programme uses the discrete Garmin vivoki fitness tracker to monitor and report on steps, active minutes, distance and calories burned by students during the school day.
Schools across Merseyside, London and Dublin are all part of this network motivating over 5,000 young people to move more. With more schools added every week, the initiative is aiming to enrol 1,000 primary schools into the network by the end of 2020.