The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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10 Ways IHRSA Public Policy Grows the Health Club Industry

This post is excerpted from an email sent to the Industry Leadership Council in January. 

IHRSA’s Public Policy and Health Promotion teams are working hard to help grow the health club industry. Here’s a look at the top 10 ways their efforts are benefiting health clubs in the U.S. and worldwide. 

10. Focusing on the future. Focusing on kids. The passage of the “Every Student Succeeds Act” ended 2015 on a good note for kids. The law will require physical education to be recognized as a key component of every student’s educational experience.  

9. Getting kids more active in your clubs. Coming soon, a best practice e-book “Getting Kids Active In Your Club.” This adds to our complete library of best practice tools

8. Bringing 15% of the world’s population suffering disabilities into clubs. We came one step closer with the creation of a UFIT inclusion toolkit that will provide best practices on how to embrace “fitness opportunities for all.” More at the IHRSA 2016 session, “The Ufit Project: Targeting a New Untapped Market to Increase Membership,” on March 23 at 11 a.m.  

7. Lowering the barrier to physical activity for the thousands of cancer survivors in the US. “There will be 14 million cancer survivors in the United States in the next couple of years, and we—health clubs—need to be ready to be the solution and truly their prescription for wellness!” said Kevin McHugh from the Atlantic Club. McHugh and other representatives of the nutrition, physical activity, and cancer advocacy communities gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss the effect that healthy lifestyle practices, including regular, exercise play in preventing and treating various forms of cancer.  

6. Leading the fight against taxes on wellness. IHRSA clubs are leading efforts to stop (PA) or repeal (MO) sales tax efforts. For a compelling short video on what a sales tax would do to one person with MS, watch and listen to Lisa Boyle’s plea

5. Helping members of Congress and their staff remember why they get active. The Congressional Fitness Caucus will host and IHRSA will sponsor the #WhyGetActive Health Policy Fair on May 12, 2016. 

4. Encouraging business leaders to incorporate wellness and physical activity in the workplace. IHRSA and the National Coalition to Promote Physical Activity (NCPPA) are working to engage more businesses to incorporate more physical activity into the work day. 

3. Building capacity in the health club industry to deliver evidence-based health promotion programs through the IHRSA Foundation. Because despite the many proven health benefits of exercise, physical inactivity, obesity, and chronic disease continue to be growing global problems.  

2. Working to make it easier for businesses to offer fitness as an employee benefit.  On November 17, 2015, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) took the lead introduced the WHIP Act in the Senate. WHIP encourages corporations of all sizes to incentivize employees exercise by eliminating the current tax on employer sponsored financial subsidies provided to employees to defray the costs of memberships in off-site gyms. Visit our WHIP Act page for more information and to support the bill. 

1. Promoting tax incentives to encourage exercise. PHIT was introduced into the Senate for the first time and in the House (HR 1218 and S. 2218). PHIT would allow individuals or families to pay for gym memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports league fees with dollars from pre-tax accounts, like flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). Momentum for PHIT is growing with 4 cosponsors in the Senate and 51 in the House. 

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