Leaders from the health-club industry gathered on Capitol Hill during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May. They pulled together to urge Congress to support public policies and legislation to help create a national environment that champions physical activity and healthy lifestyles—the building blocks for a healthy workforce, economy, and nation. Their gathering was part of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association’s (IHRSA) 11th Annual Summit.
” For two days in May, the health club industry was on Capitol Hill urging Congress to support legislation to promote physical activity in an effort to restore the health of our nation,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA’s President and CEO. “But every day, all across America, health club owners and operators are moving our country toward greater economic and national security by leading our local communities toward healthier lifestyles.”
Presentations at IHRSA’s Summit made clear that moving America back to wellness—and especially solving the dual problem of physical inactivity and obesity—won’t be simple. These are complex issues affected by many aspects of American life and influenced by all sectors of society.
Attendees at IHRSA’s Summit for a Healthier America clearly demonstrated that the health club industry is a critically important part of the solution. In fact, the health club industry is a composite of a million solutions—all working in tandem across America to reverse the plague of inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles that has undermined our nation’s health, economy, competitiveness, and global standing.
” The health club industry is central to solving our nation’s physical and fiscal health problems,” said Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy. “And although not every club owner or manager is able to come to Washington, D.C.for the Summit each year, the role they play on the local level is both essential and valued.”
“What we do on the national level in Washington affects clubs and the communities they serve,” Durkin continued. “But what clubs do on the local level equally affect what happens in Washington. As our Summit’s keynote speaker reminded us, ‘Politics is local.’ Health club professionals are the foot soldiers for change in America. Collectively, we have the power to create a national groundswell for increased physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and primary prevention. From Main Street in our hometowns—to K Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Capitol Hill in Washington, DC—we are the drivers for positive change in America. We are a vibrant and healthy ‘change’ industry.”
During the two-day Summit, health and fitness industry leaders spoke to Members of Congress and their staffs about specific pieces of legislations, including the Workforce Health Improvement Program (WHIP) Act; the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act; and the Physical Activity Guidelines Act. Industry leaders also requested full funding for the Carol M. White “PEP” grants.
IHRSA and many other health-promotion organizations—which have been working tirelessly to foster a national climate wherein physical activity and healthy lifestyles become the easy choice for all Americans—applauded Congress on May 23when it introduced three bills aimed at promoting physical activity: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) Act, the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act, and the Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act.
The Impact of America’s Health Clubs :
Change operates on the ripple effect. And all across our country, health clubs are working in their local communities to affect change toward a healthier, more prosperous America.
Because of health clubs :
- More than 51 million Americans are finding support and encouragement to exercise and live healthy lives.
- More than $21 billion are being pumped into economies across America as more than 30,000 health club facilities work to inspire millions of Americans to embrace a culture of health and wellness.
- Hundreds of thousands of families are providing their children with the memories and legacy of enjoyable physical activity and active lifestyles.
- Hundreds of thousands of Americans with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and other illnesses are finding it easier to manage their chronic conditions and enjoy life.
- Hundreds of thousands of Americans confronted with stress, anxiety and depression are finding a healthy way to cope—along with the social and professional support of other club members and fitness professionals.
- An unstoppable movement of wellness—and the belief in a strong America for generations to come—is taking hold across the country, one health club and one healthy community at a time.
How Health Clubs Create a Positive Domino Effect on Wellness in America :
When people exercise :
- They improve their health. Wellness goes up. The risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, dementia, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis and even some cancers goes down.
- They better control their weight. Fitness goes up. Obesity goes down.
- They build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Mobility and its enjoyment go up. Immobility and pain go down.
- They decrease their likelihood of falling. Balance improves. Fall-related injuries drop.
- Their energy levels go up. Enjoyment and productivity on the job increase. Presenteeism goes down.
- They are more productive at work. Employees succeed. Employers profit.
- They stimulate their creative thinking. Ideas are borne. Solutions are found.
- Their mood lifts. Feeling good becomes a regular part of life. Quality of life improves.
- Their stress levels go down. The ability to cope improves. Stress-induced fatigue, illness, and unhealthy behaviors diminish.
- We all enjoy the benefits of wellness. Healthcare costs are contained. Dollars are saved. The vision for a healthier, more prosperous America is realized.
About IHRSA :
IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America’s health and the battle against obesity and disease.