August 2017 Update

In this edition of the ASGA Update you’ll find articles about:


Fung Global Logo   

Market trends in US and European Footwear

A new report by Fung Global Retail and Tech discusses how athleisure, health and wellness trends in the US and in European countries have buoyed footwear sales growth in 2016. Major brands have posted double-digit percentage sales growth rates in recent reports.

The article notes that trends in the footwear market closely mirror those of the apparel fashion market in that specialty footwear retailers in the US and the UK that offer sports-inspired footwear styles are thriving.

Fung expect global footwear sales will be driven by the continuation of athleisure and healthy lifestyle trends, the rise of e-commerce, product innovation and the evolving opportunities provided by 3D printing and customization, as well as Amazon’s continued penetration of the apparel and footwear categories.

To read more about Fung’s estimates of US and European footwear market trends, please read their report.


ExerciseNZ Logo   

Fitness promotion needs to be more than slogans

An article in Wellington Today quotes ExerciseNZ’s CEO, Richard Beddie, lamenting the fact New Zealand has a major problem committing to active participation.

Too many of the government messages in the early 2000s focused on slogans such as walk to the bus stop when that was never the answer to the looming inactivity, diabetes and obesity issues, Beddie says.

“To be blunt, the old school food pyramid failed Kiwis in the same way that the old school belief that gold medals and long-term participation levels are related.”

“For too long we have been sending the wrong messages, but despite all that more than half a million Kiwis make the effort to be active through structured exercise such as gyms or studios.

“Participation in organised sport is declining whereas participation in structured exercise has been consistently growing for the last 15 years. Even during the last financial recession, gym memberships grew and have constantly out performed New Zealand’s GDP growth, in good times and bad,” Beddie said.

To read more about Richard Beddie’s views on NZ physical activity participation, please visit the Wellington Today article.


Flinders Uni Logo   

Older Australians healthier but not fit compared to 25 years ago

A story on the ABC talks about new research that shows older Australians are generally healthier and more active than their peers more than 25 years ago, but their level of fitness has decreased.

The health and fitness of more than 100 people aged between 60 and 70 was examined by researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, replicating a study conducted in 1991.

The study tested participants’ fitness on an exercise bike and also examined health factors including blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

They were also asked to detail their fitness regimes.

“As we all know, Australians are getting older, we’ve got an ageing population, so it’s really important for us to try and work out the trends in health and fitness over time,” researcher Dr Lucy Lewis said.

“We were really interested in the comparison between that 1991 study and now 2017 to have a look and see what was happening.”

To read more about the research please visit the ABC article.


Stanford Uni Logo   

Study uses smartphone data to track global ‘steps’ and point out ‘activity inequality’

Smartphone data has been used by National Institute of Health-funded researchers at Stanford University to calculate how much walking has been done by people in more than 100 countries.

The study used smartphones to track 68 million days of physical activity from more than 700,000 people around the world.

An article about the study on the PHIT America website describes how the study uses the smartphone data to track ‘activity inequality,’ which occurs when there’s a large gap between those who walk a great deal and those who don’t walk a great deal. The researchers discovered that cities and countries with lower rates of ‘activity inequality’ are actually more attractive walking destinations. And lower rates of ‘activity inequality’ mean lower rates of obesity.

The Stanford University researchers concluded that by making improvements in a country’s or a city’s walkability — i.e., by creating an environment that is safe and enjoyable to walk — it can reduce that country’s ‘activity inequality,’ which means a healthier society.

To read more please visit the Stanford University website.


Medical News Today Logo   

Thinking yourself fit

Breaking research finds that simply believing that you do not exercise enough might shorten your life, regardless of your actual activity levels, according to an article on Medical News Today.

Recent research in the USA asked participants about fitness and activity levels. Information was collated about the types of activities they had recently taken part in, as well as their duration and intensity. For one phase of the data collection, participants wore an accelerometer that measured their actual levels of activity.

Importantly, the questionnaires gauged how physically active the individuals thought they were with the question, “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?” They also rated themselves on a general health scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

As suspected, the participants’ perception of their own activity levels did not correspond to their actual activity levels, and the effect of this was nothing short of startling.

Individuals who thought they were less active than their peers were 71 percent more likely to die during the study follow-up period than those who believed that they were more active. This effect remained significant even after controlling for factors including their actual levels of exercise, chronic illness, and age.

To read more about how your perception of your physical activity can be as important as your actual activity, please read the article on Medical News Today.


USA Flag   

US Retail Revolution

A new report from Fung Global Retail and Tech suggest the US retail industry is experiencing a period of revolution rather than evolution. Three things characterise the current transformation: traditional retailers such as department stores and specialty retailers are undergoing huge disruption, emerging players in different segments are intensifying competition and higher e-commerce penetration is challenging brick-and-mortar retailers.

The rate of change seems to be accelerating. Retailers have already announced a total of 5,321 store closures so far this year, up 218 per cent year over year, and 11 retailers have filed for bankruptcy year to date.

Amid this accelerated disruption, we have identified a number of potential solutions US retailers can implement to address the fundamental challenges they face.

These include further store closures to optimise store bases, transforming the store experience beyond the transactional and implementing innovative, all-channel initiatives to compete with the convenience offered by e-commerce.

To read more please visit the Fung website.


The Guardian Logo   

Walking meetings improve creativity and health

An article in The Guardian newspaper discusses how encouraging walking, both within the workplace as well as for travelling to and from work, brings significant benefits for staff and for employers. These range from creativity to physical and mental health, including a reduced risk of depression.

Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally. The results of a recent survey of more than 14,000 people in Scotland indicate that for adults in work, time spent being inactive during weekdays is greater than people aged 75 and above.

Long periods spent sitting at work have public health implications, including increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple made a habit of the walking meeting. Anecdotal evidence suggests that walking meetings lead to more honest exchanges with employees and are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings.

To read more about the benefits of walking meetings, please read the article on the Guardian website.


Swim England Logo   

Health and wellness benefits of swimming

In news that won’t surprise anyone in Australia, Swim England recently launched a new study that shows the health and wellbeing benefits of swimming.

The report shows the unique benefits of water make it the ideal place for people of all ages to exercise. It is particularly beneficial for those with long term health conditions.

The report also found evidence that swimmers live longer. Swimming regularly also helps older people to stay fit, physically and mentally.

On the other end of the scale, the report also found that children who take part in swimming lessons regularly develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker than those who do not.

To read more about the research into the health benefits of swimming please see the media release from Swim England.


US Pickleball Assoc Logo   

What on earth is Pickleball?

Despite the peculiar name, pickleball is nothing to sneeze at or derisively dismiss.

According to an article on the Idyllwild Town Crier website, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. Since its founding in 1965 by Washington State Congressman Joel Pritchard, the paddle- and net-based sport has exploded in popularity. It is played in all 50 US states at over 4,000 locations and has its own corporate brand and sponsor, the USA Pickleball Association.

Pickleball’s rapid growth is attributed to its popularity with seniors, and within retirement communities, community centers, YMCA facilities and physical-education classes.

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (the USA’s version of ASGA) estimated there were 2.5-million pickleball adherents in 2016. SFIA is the premier trade association for top brands, manufacturers, retailers and marketers in the sporting goods and fitness industry in the USA.

Core (regular and devoted) players were 73 percent male and 27 percent female. Seventy-five percent of core players were 55 years of age or older with the largest demographic, 42.7 percent, 65 or older.

To read more about how pickleball got a permanent home in Idyllwild, please read the article on the Idyllwild Town Crier website.