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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Wednesday
Aug022017

Help the Fitness Industry Lead the Movement to #PassPHIT

To say that the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act has been top of mind lately is an understatement.

In light of all the changes happening on Capitol Hill and the questions that have yet to be answered surrounding healthcare reform, fitness industry leaders have been vocal about their support of PHIT. Industry leaders—and IHRSA—believe that the federal incentive designed to increase access toand the affordability ofphysical activity is necessary in order to reduce rates of inactivity and guarantee a healthy future for our nation.

Jim Worthington, IHRSA board member and owner of the Newtown Athletic Club in PA, recently spoke to the importance of passing this piece of bipartisan legislation as a featured guest on the Fit-C podcast.

Newtown Athletic Club's cardio area

“The PHIT Act is really a way for working Americans to be incentivized financially to be healthy,” said Worthington. “[Consumers] would get a tax break of $1,000 for an individual or $2,000 for a family to enroll in programming, i.e. a health club membership, or smoking cessation, or kid’s sports program leagues, to help incentivize you to get healthy. Some studies have shown that right now one in five adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines and researchers believe that if there was a financial incentive you’d have two out of five.”

You may think that one more person (out of five) who makes the decision to lace up their sneakers and take a jog on the treadmill each morning doesn’t equate to much, but it actually does. That’s a 20% increase in the amount of people making a conscious effort to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.

And, since exercise is a form of preventative medicine, if every American had the ability to allocate more of their personal finances to taking control of their health, our country would save thousands of dollars in healthcare costs that are currently being used to treat chronic conditions.

“So it’s just a reallocation of that dollar to prevention rather than treatment,” said Luke Carlson, ACSM certified exercise physiologist and ACSM cancer exercise trainer for Discover Strength.

Carlson is right, but this movement toward a more active population will not be realized overnight, nor will it be realized without the support of thousands of amplified industry voices, repeating the same pro-fitness message, and refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer.

We often forget that our congressmen and women work for the people of this country. This means that they want to hear from you because your opinions are what help inform their political decisions.

"IHRSA can only do so much,” Worthington said. “When it comes to relationships with your local senators or your state senators and local congressmen, it's really the obligation of the people in the industry, the club owners and the operators, to reach out and make this a priority to get them on board with the PHIT Act. Frankly, that's where my frustration lies. I feel like this could be the biggest opportunity for our fitness industry to grow the amount of participants and change people's lives."

To get involved, you can start by scheduling a meeting with your member of Congress to discuss why you support pro-physical activity legislationlike PHITand why it’s imperative that they should too. If you are unsure of how to set up a meeting, please contact IHRSA. We want to hear from you. Your voice matters, so let us help you use it.