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Investing in wellness can redesign welfare

Investing in wellness can redesign welfare
February 1, 2015

Recognised as a leader in global wellness, Nerio Alessandri, President and founder of Technogym, has been attending the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland since 2011.

Having developed his company based on the concept of ‘wellness’, he believes that wellness is a social opportunity.

Alessandri explains “this year the World Economic Forum chose ‘The new global context’ as a title to describe the profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological forces that are transforming our lives, communities and institutions.

“Within this scenario, dominated by hyper connectivity and digital innovation, health and prevention represent key priorities to ensure sustainable social and economic development around the world. “Healthy populations are the backbone of a sustainable economy – they are more productive and less expensive for both employers and healthcare systems. Reductions in illness and mortality are estimated to account for about 11% of economic growth in low-income and middle-income countries as measured in their national income accounts.

“However, very often health is still seen as a cost rather than an investment.

“For some years now the World Health Organisation has been warning that non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are the prime cause of mortality in the world (over 63% of deaths/36 million deaths out of a total of 57 million).

“Unhealthy lifestyles (physical inactivity, poor diet and smoking) generate another 14 million premature deaths each year.

“Moreover, in 2006, for the first time in the history of mankind, the number of overweight people exceeded the number of people suffering from malnutrition at global level. It is estimated that, by 2015, there will be 2.3 billion overweight people, 700 million of whom will be obese.

“Every year, in Europe alone, cardiovascular diseases kill around 2 million people and the total costs of treating such pathologies are estimated to span in the range of 200 billion Euro: an amount comparable to the entire GDP of a medium size country like Ireland or Portugal.”

In the early 1990s, in the wake of the all-muscle vision of fitness à la Jane Fonda and Sylvester Stallone that had taken America and much of the world by storm, Italian-based Technogym launched its new vision.

Alessandri adds “we called our new vision ‘wellness’, a profoundly Italian way of living, dating back to the ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ (a healthy mind in a healthy body) principle of Ancient Rome based on regular physical exercise, a healthy diet and a positive mental approach.”

By transforming a business based on hedonism into a social business, Technogym has created a revolution that has moved the focus of fitness from looking good to feeling good, and from a small élite of body beautiful fanatics to the entire human population.

He continues “I feel that wellness is a social opportunity for everyone.

“(It is) an opportunity for governments to reduce health service costs, for companies to stimulate their members to be more creative and productive and for all citizens to improve their health and daily lifestyle.”

Alessandri presents the following international case histories:

United Kingdom - Our Greatest Team 
• Technogym was the Exclusive and Official Supplier to the London 2012 Olympic Games
• Alongside its involvement at the Olympics, Technogym partnered up in a campaign launched by the British Olympic Association/Team GB in the summer of 2012 to leverage the Olympic Spirit and involve the population in regular physical exercise by making a pledge for a better lifestyle
• Technogym partnered with the initiative by leveraging its unique cloud-based technology
• Technogym created an online network of over 1,500 public and private locations in the UK where people could make a health pledge, share it with the community and join an exercise program 

USA - Exercise is Medicine
• A nationwide US scheme launched by American College of Sports Medicine and  American Medical Association to promote physical exercise prescription among American doctors 
• The Wellness Foundation supports ‘Exercise is Medicine’ and promotes an active lifestyle as the most natural and effective medicine
• Technogym is the Global Partner of ‘Exercise is Medicine’ 
• The Wellness Foundation is also the Scientific Partner of the Italian Ministry of Health and of the Emilia Romagna region in the test of physical activity as a medical prescription

Italy - Play Wellness
• The first Let’s Move listed project in Europe – with Technogym supporting Michelle Obama’s campaign against child obesity
• Over 15,000 children from ages three to nine years old are involved
• 350 teachers trained on the benefits of physical activity for children
• The Wellness Foundation donated 3.200 hours of free physical activity, supervised by professionals, to schools
• 1.000 Wellness Books donated to schools

Rest of the World
Workplace Wellness Alliance

• Initiative launched by WEF to promote Workplace Wellness as a contribution that the private sector can offer to the global health cause
• Technogym is a steering board member alongside other 15 leader companies

Let’s Move for a Better World Challenge
• A global campaign that Technogym has launched in 2014 
• People can exercise on Technogym equipment in over 50.000 gyms all over the world, collect MOVES (pictured above) and donate them for a social cause 
• In each country the fitness facility collecting the most MOVEs will be able to donate a gym provided by Technogym to a local school.

Official supplier for six Olympic Games (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and recently appointed for Rio 2016), Technogym is a company that has already put its concept of ‘social business’ into action in numerous situations around the globe.

Founded in 1983, Technogym is one of the world’s leading international supplier of products, services, and solutions in the wellness and fitness industry. Technogym provides a complete range of cardio, strength and movement equipment alongside networking solution and programs. With over 2,200 employees and 14 branches globally, Technogym is present in over 100 countries. More than 65,000 Wellness centres around the world are equipped with Technogym and 35 million users train every day on Technogym. 

In 2012, former US President Bill Clinton and Giorgio Napolitano, the President of Italy, presided over the opening Technogym's new global headquarters in Cessena, Italy. 

The main image shows Nerio Alessandri in front of this facility.

Click here to contact Technogym Australia via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory. 





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