Fitness fun for +50s by design

It’s playtime on The Big Middle. I’m celebrating the oft-forgotten fun side of living as older by staying switched-on and active. This is a very particular celebration; we’re meeting five of the 26 winners of a big-money design competition here in the UK. Fun factors into all their design projects.

The competition winners are sharing a £20 million pot of government money for design innovations to help us all as we age. All projects are either on the market or close to it and all have potential to scale. Competition leader Julia Glenn of Innovate UK, an arm of UK Research and Innovation,  is along to tell us more about how the winners were chosen and what’s next for them.

Who won for what:

Lily Chow – Holly Health is partnering with charity Age UK’s branches in the London boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark to develop a digital coaching service. It will improve the physical and mental health of older adults to slow the onset of chronic conditions.

Clara Sbraccia – KYMIRA through MISFIT is making a new smart garment bio-monitoring service to help Ida Sports create appropriate sports footwear to help women of all ages, and specifically older women, participate safely and more confidently in sports.

Afroditi Konidari – Tendertec’s FitBees, a service led by women, is integrating home sensors with smart garments to monitor people’s activity. This is linked to a programme of community fitness for older adults, including those living with carers.

Howard Blackburn – Yorkshire company Innerva is making power-assisted exercise machines more user-friendly for older people and the machines more readily available throughout the community.

Ben Wilkins – Good Boost Wellbeing is transforming leisure centres into community musculoskeletal treatment hubs with artificial intelligence (AI) and gamified exercise monitoring in gyms and pools. Using gamification extends the service to more people by including those who are less mobile.

Full scroll of winners here.



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