This article is brought to you by NL Actief

As part of EuropeActive’s commitment to promote and safeguard an inclusive and welcoming environment for all across the fitness and physical activity ecosystem, and as part of EuropeActive’s Inclusion calendar, we are thrilled to celebrate International Day of Older Persons which takes place every year on October 1. This is further correlated with our European activities as it falls under our awareness-raising activities for our#HealthyLifestyle4All pledge.

National Association for the Netherlands, NL Actief adopted a new angle for their 2023 #BEACTIVE DAY campaign focusing on real stories from gym-goers. Denise d’Hondt (Communications Officer) shares the concept of their ‘Fitness Empowers People’ campaign, and some of the inspirational stories they found.

Fitness Empowers People: The 2023 theme of #BEACTIVEDAY in the Netherlands

Once again, in 2023, the Dutch fitness industry enthusiastically participated in the #BEACTIVEDAY campaign. NL Actief, the Dutch association of recognized sports and fitness business, introduced a striking campaign under the name “Fitness Empowers People”. The campaign demonstrated how fitness not only impacts physical health but also mental and social aspects of well-being. Fitness does not merely enhance physical health; it also aids in reducing stress, boosting self-confidence, and building mental resilience. 

One vital component of the campaign involves sharing inspiring and personal success stories of individuals who have discovered their strength through fitness. These stories illustrate that fitness is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, background, or origin. The stories serve as motivational examples of what is possible. 

One of these inspiring success stories is that of Chiel and Marga; a retired couple who embarked on their fitness journey later in life. They discovered that, despite their age, they could become stronger and healthier through fitness. Their story is an inspiration for other seniors looking to embrace fitness and rediscover their strength. 

Chiel and MargaWe are Chiel and Marga van der Plas, both 87 years old. When Chiel retired at the age of 60, we noticed that everyday tasks were becoming increasingly challenging. Even putting on socks had become a struggle. One day, we saw that the BodyFlash gym was hosting an open house, so we decided to take the plunge. To our surprise, fitness is not just for the younger crowd! For the past 26 years, we have been working out at the BodyFlash gym, three times a week. We also go for walks and bike rides from time to time. Even on days when we lack motivation, we persevere. It’s good for our bodies, minds, and social connections. Health challenges didn’t deter us; our fitness helped us bounce back quickly. The gym offers more than just exercise. It is a very social environment as well. We enjoy a cup of coffee and chat with other gym-members. We’re not only staying fit but also staying engaged! Quitting? Not in our plans! Age is no limit. 

Another inspiring story comes from Bas, a retiree who has dedicated eleven years to working out actively at the gym. 

Bas I’m Bas, retired and 73 years young. I’m married to Joke and a proud grandparent of eleven grandchildren. In my spare time, I volunteer for refugee support. In the past, I didn’t allow myself the time to exercise. I thought cycling, my primary mode of transportation, provided enough physical activity. But when I had a bit more free time and received an invitation from Healthclub Juliën to try out their fitness facilities, I got hooked and never stopped. I now visit the gym two to three times a week at Healthclub Juliën. It’s been eleven years now, and it’s become an integral part of my life. Despite aging, I experience less stiffness in certain movements. I feel great!” 

These success stories highlight that fitness is not restricted to a specific group of people; it’s accessible to all. Through these inspiring stories, we show that Fitness Empowers People, a message that can inspire others to get moving.  

All of the campaign’s success stories can be found here.


Nov 2, 2023 By Anna Miskovicova