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Begin with the Basics!

Ours is the best product in the world to sell. Exercise makes people healthier, happier, and more productive. What’s more, exercise can do much more than improve individual lives. It can also play a major role in resolving the nation’s healthcare crisis, and, in so doing, help create a healthier culture and economy for our children for decades to come.

Our job is to convince inactive people to do something, anything—whether it takes place inside of a club or not. To quote my friend David “Patch” Patchell-Evans, the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness Clubs, the Canadian chain, and former head of IHRSA’s board of directors: “Good enough is good enough!”

Once someone tries something—a bit of exercise, a class, a sport—and enjoys it, they’ll find a club on their own timetable ... although, obviously, the sooner the better.

Here are some recent findings about the benefits of exercise to help inspire them:


  • In a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Labor Research, researchers found that employees who exercise regularly earn 9% more than their inactive coworkers. I savored the news reports about the study’s conclusions, which featured headlines such as “Want a 9% Raise? Hit the Gym!” and “Work Out More, Make More Money.”



  • The American Journal of Health Promotion released an in-depth analysis conducted by companies that offer worksite health-promotion programs. These businesses documented a 27% drop in sick-leave absenteeism, a 26% decrease in healthcare costs, and a 32% reduction in workers’ compensation and disability claims. According to HR, “The most important finding has to do with all-around wellness ROI. For every dollar invested in wellness, employers saw an average savings of $5.81 due to improved employee health and reduced medical claims.”



  • Active individuals tend to have fewer chronic diseases, which account for 75% of the nation’s total healthcare spending. According to a Milken Institute study, the seven most common chronic diseases— cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental illness—cost the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion a year.
  • According to a series of papers published recently in The Lancet, the British medical journal, lack of exercise is responsible for as many as one in 10 premature deaths annually, worldwide. One study suggests that eliminating physical inactivity would have an effect comparable to that of eliminating smoking or obesity.



  • Peter Vishton, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and an expert in cognitive science, poses the following question: “What’s the best thing people can do to increase their memory: take a vitamin, take a new drug, do crossword puzzles, do Sudoku-based mental exercises?” The answer is: None of the above. The correct answer, he points out, is physical activity. “Active people tend to have higher levels of cognitive performance in a variety of areas, including memory.”


So, let’s begin with the basics.

Let’s do our best to go out into our communities to help people get started.

We—our members, our clubs, our community, and the country—will be well rewarded for the effort.  

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