How the cost-of-living crisis will further affect societies health and well being and the fitness industry.

By Christine Tuck on 11 August 2022

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5 News reported on the 10th Aug 2022 that 6 million households across the UK are already in debt to their energy provider on average to £200. USwtich said that overall debt is already 3 times higher than a year ago and this is before the energy increase in Oct 2022. As a result of the cost of living crisis many people will be on the poverty line or below it. It is well documented that poverty brings about a negative impact on an individuals mental, emotional and physical health. According to many articles in the media over the last few years we know that UK already has an obesity crisis. We know that lockdowns have caused more people to suffer from mental ill health across the board. Fear has driven stress, anxiety and depression. Lockdown drinking became a thing for many and for some is now a habit that is hard to break. Some people did benefit from lockdowns it gave them more time to do things and they had money to do it because they were on furlough. Others had to struggle to make a living or even lost their businesses / homes due to the restrictions. The number of households now visiting foodbanks on a weekly basis is extremely worrying. Food supplies have and are being impacted and the costs are rising exponentially. We know it's cheaper to buy unhealthy foods or fast foods that are not conducive to health. Takeaways skyrocketed during lockdowns which has had a further impact on the obesity and disease crisis. When individuals are feeling down, we know that they turn to other things to help them cope with their distress or unhappiness like smoking, drugs, alcohol, sugar and or processed foods to help them feel better. We know from the media that the NHS is on its knees and cannot deal with the current backlogs and many diseases like cancer & type 2 Diabetes (to name but a few) have skyrocketed because of the Governments Covid Only policy. It's essential that we get society moving, to become fitter and healthier. We need to improve and boost our natural immune systems to prepare us for the increase in stressors coming our way in the autumn and winter along with the normal colds and flu some of us will encounter. As the cost-of-living crisis bites many households are at a point where they have to choose to eat or heat, they will be looking at cutting all outgoings that are not necessary to surviving. Some will lose their livlihoods and their homes. For those who have a gym membership or attend community classes they will probably be forced to stop going. For some people physical activity is their lifeline. It keeps the stress of everyday life at bay and is literally a lifesaver for them. Any changes in consumer spending will impact the fitness industry all over again. As a community instructor for 20 years, I know how beneficial classes are to my members. It keeps them physicallty fit & well, it's a social opportunity for them to meet with their friends and it helps them managetheir stress and maintain their overall health. In fact, its priceless. As an industry we have tried hard to keep people moving throughout the lockdowns even when the restrictions made it virtually impossible for some of us to make a living. If we can encourage more people to partake in movement / fitness there will be less burden on the NHS. I know some of my clients will be leaving me because of their own financial situation. The cost of the hall hire has and will rise due to their own bills increasing. So, with increased costs and less income this is going to impact many fitness professionals like myself and fitness businesses nationwide. In my opinion the Government got it wrong in the lockdowns they should have been advising society to build resilience in their mental and physical fitness by becoming more active or keeping active. They now need to be supporting the fitness industry to do what they are best at and that is keeping society mentally and physically fit and well. As a strategy we would all benefit.
 
Chris Tuck
 
Trauma Informed Health & Wellness Professional
 
Consultant to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.