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IHRSA Advocate

The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

For more timely relevant news about advocacy issues affecting the industry, and your bottom-line, subscribe to​ the bi-weekly (member-only) IHRSA Advocate newsletter

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EU Says More Docs Should be Prescribing Exercise

Doctor-recommended physical activity is gaining greater visibility on the world stage.

At conference held last week on behalf of HEPA, the EU body in charge of promoting health-enhancing physical activity, attendees concluded that, "physical activity must be promoted more in health care settings."

In the WHO European Region alone, one million deaths per year (about 10% of the total) are estimated to be attributable to physical inactivity. Health care solutions include education reform and active workplace support for health care professionals; guided prescriptions of physical activity for patients, and the design of health care facilities to have both indoor and outdoor healing environments.

These were among the conclusions drawn at the 10th Annual Meeting and 5th Conference of HEPA Europe, the European Network for the promotion of Health-Enhancing Physical Activity, held in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Advocacy: If We Don’t Do It, Who Will?

Advocacy is one of the most important activities that you and other health club operators can possibly engage in. There's a tremendous need to demonstrate that clubs have a positive impact on the nation's health, and should be protected from punitive legislation.

In June, for example, the city council in Washington, D.C., approved a 5.75% sales tax on health clubs, yoga studios, and a mumber of other service providers to raise revenue, while reducing income tax rates (see “Washington, D.C., Council,” September 2014 CBI pg. 20).

IHRSA and a number of its member clubs were on the front lines, opposing the tax, but, despite their concerted campaign, the bill was approved by a vote of 9 to 4.

While the industry’s advocates won’t always win, it’s important for us to remain vigilant and to keep up the effort, and when we lose, we should fight even harder.

Still, many club operators don’t participate in industry advocacy for a variety of reasons. They may feel that they’re too busy, or think that the issues involved don’t really affect them. In reality, however, advocacy is definitely something they should make time for.

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Keep the #WhyGetActive Momentum Going

In June, #WhyGetActive set new records for tweets, likes, and impressions, and IHRSA needs your help to keep the #WhyGetActive ball rolling. There are numerous, easy ways for you to get involved. Here are a few:

  1. Share why you get active (e.g. "to keep up with my kids") using the #WhyGetActive hashtag on all your social networks, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  2. Promote the hashtag on your club's social media networks to encourage your members to share their reasons for exercising.
  3. Include the #WhyGetActive hashtag when you share articles on the benefits of exercise.

#WhyGetActive is a social media movement to get people more physically active by tapping into the many reasons people have for staying healthy. Learn more at To see what others are saying, visit


Representative Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma whips fellow House members into shape

In an article titled, "Sweating Out Their Differences," the New York Times offers an inside look at what may be one of the few remaining bipartisan ventures in Congress: getting in a good workout.
Read the full article...


Two health club operators speak out against new DC sales tax

Ori Gorefine, chief operating officer, and Mark Crick, chief executive officer, of Balance Gym in Washington, D.C. have penned a compelling op-ed for the Washington Post on the demerits of the recently enacted 5.75% sales tax on D.C. health and fitness centers.
Read the full op-ed on the Washington Post...


Successful day in DC for #WhyGetActive

Two weeks ago, the Congressional Fitness Caucus-a volunteer committee of members of Congress who want to promote physical fitness-alongside IHRSA as lead sponsor, hosted an event on Capitol Hill to promote the #WhyGetActive campaign, and physical activity legislation. It was an especially successful day for the #WhyGetActive campaign, as activity soared on social media. During the event, #WhyGetActive tweets reached over 71,000 users and were delivered to twitter timelines over 194,000 times.


IHRSA's Helen Durkin urges policy makers to encourage women to exercise

In response to the recent news that breast cancer patients are not getting enough exercise, Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy at IHRSA, took to one of the top Congressional news outlets, Roll Call, to examine the broader issue of women's exercise habits, and to urge lawmakers to help more women be physically active.
Read the op-ed piece on

Helen Durkin

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Champion for the health club industry. Committed advocate for physical activity, primary prevention, and public policies that promote wellness because it will take more than personal responsibility to get the world active.

Joe Moore and Dr. Eddie Phillips on HuffPo op-ed: Exercise is Medicine

IHRSA's president and CEO, Joe Moore, teamed up with Dr. Eddie Phillips, founder of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in Boston, to write a compelling blog post for the Huffington Post on "the most cost-effective and potent treatment we know." They are talking about exercise, of course.
Read the blog on the Huffington Post...


CDC: Inactive people with disabilities more likely to develop cancer, other chronic diseases

The Post and Courier, a South Carolina newspaper, has painted a compelling portrait of adults with disabilities and why many do not get the exercise they need. The article was written in response to the most recent "Vital Signs" report from the CDC.

The report states that 47% of US adults with disabilities who are able to do aerobic physical activity do not, and that adults with disabilities who do not get any exercise are 50% more likely to have a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, stroke or heart disease. The report also says that an additional 22% of adults with disabilities are not active enough. Read the full article from the Post and Courier...


Australian Medical Association says workers should work out during office hours

Here's a policy statement we can get behind. According to Courier Mail, the Australian Medical Association released a policy statement urging employers to encourage staff to move throughout the day, not just before and after work. The Courier says the statement is in response to statistics showing 60-70% of the Australian population is sedentary.

Read more from Courier Mail...