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Entries in benefits of exercise (21)


Exercise Makes Life Better (and Longer) for Women

When it comes to health, there are some ways in which women are different from men. For example, women respond differently to diet and exercise regimens, and are more likely to die from heart disease. In honor of Women’s Health Weeka week focused on encouraging and empowering women to make their health a prioritywe’ve compiled a list of ways physical activity can help women live longerand better.


Women often find themselves juggling a lot of moving pieces—work, children, household, etc., which can all be very stressful. Fortunately, physical activity is known to reduce stress and improve mood. Research shows that exercise can decrease stress and increase mental resources to deal with it, boost mood during pregnancy, and benefit students. Vigorous exercise can also decrease stress, and improve mental health and sleep in young adults.

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3 Ways Exercise Makes You Better at Life

Exercise is more than an avenue to weight loss. In addition to all the known mental and physical health benefits (chronic disease prevention, cognitive, and mood benefits), it turns out exercise can also make you better at life.

1. Exercise helps you focus and be productive

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5 Hilarious Exercise Motivations, from Peanut Butter to Revenge

Exercise enthusiasts say the darndest things…

There are many legitimate reasons to pursue a physically active lifestyle—better mood, lower risk of health problems, and improved physical stamina, just to name a few. But lets face it—sometimes people need to focus on a less-healthful goal to motivate themselves to hit the gym. And those goals can be pretty funny. 

Since 2014, IHRSA has asked the fitness industry, legislators, legislative aides, and consumers to share why they pursue a physically active lifestyle as part of our #WhyGetActive campaign. Some people took this question more seriously than others.

Here are the five funniest reasons we found that motivated people to get active. 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Cardiac Patients Encouraged to Hit the Gym

Cardiac Patients Encouraged to Try HIIT at the Gym
In the 1950s, cardiac patients were told that rest was the key to recovery, but now physicians educate patients about the benefits of aerobic exercise, which help the heart become more efficient over time. "The goal is to raise and sustain that elevated heart rate in what we call a training heart rate zone," Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, medical director for cardiac rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center, told CNN. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been one of the most popular methods for patients to reach the training heart rate zone since Mayo Clinic began recommending it to those diagnosed with heart attack or heart failure in 2009. Patients are often scared to push their hearts soon after a heart attack, but most trust their doctors enough to try, said Ray Squires, program director of cardiac health and rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic. Among the several thousand patients who have gone through Mayo's 36-week program, "we have never seen a single event during HIIT," he said.

IHRSA 2017 Is Almost Here!

Fitness professionals around the world are preparing to travel to IHRSA 2017, taking place in Los Angeles on March 8-11. We’ll be providing exclusive event coverage here on the IHRSA blog, as well as on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. If you can’t join us in LA, we hope you’ll follow along!

Obesity Linked to 11 Cancers
Obesity has long been thought to increase the odds of developing a wide variety of tumors, but a new study has found “strong evidence” supporting the connection between obesity and 11 types of cancer, Reuters reports. “Researchers analyzed results from 204 previously published studies exploring the connection between obesity, weight gain, waist circumference and 36 different cancers,” the article states. “They found the strongest links were between obesity and malignancies of the digestive organs and for hormone-related tumors in women, according to the report in The BMJ.”

PHIT Introduced in Congress
PHIT, the fitness industry’s top federal legislative priority, was introduced today in Congress. On the national front, IHRSA’s advocacy team has been actively engaging with Congress, the Administration, and allied organizations to promote physical activity and advance the interests of health club businesses, which are instrumental in building a healthier and more prosperous America. As a result of our efforts, the voice of the health club industry is being heard. PHIT (H.R.1267/S.482) was introduced in Congress. Read our full blog post about PHIT.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: 1escape Health Club Breaks Guinness World Record

1escape Health Club Breaks Guinness World Record
Hundreds of people gathered in Dublin’s Smithfield Market on September 15 to break the Guinness World Record for the largest exercise ball demonstration/class, according to the club’s website. The main purpose of the event, which was open to the community, was to raise money for MS Ireland. “It also reflected 1escape’s continuous pledge to provide a platform the help get Ireland fitter,” the club says.

Gym Memberships Improve Mental and Physical Health
Joining a gym significantly increases the likelihood of achieving fitness goals, according to research from Iowa State University, GoodTherapy reports. A study that compared data on 204 gym members to 201 non-members over a period of five months found that gym members got 14 times more aerobic exercise than non-gym members. They were also 10 times more likely to meet guidelines for muscle-strengthening activities. And the benefits of exercise don’t stop there. GoodTherapy also points to several studies that show a link between exercise and improved mental health. Research suggests exercise can reduce depression, increase neuroplasticity, and help treat posttraumatic stress.  

All Sport Health and Fitness Launches Composting Program
All Sport Health and Fitness has launched a composting program at their café because the Fishkill, NY-club “not only believes in keeping people healthy through the food offered, but also in keeping our environment healthy by reducing our landfill waste,” according to a release. Going forward, cups, utensils, containers, and leftover food from Fuel Café will be composted. The café has been participating in the Zero to Go compost program since mid-January, and has been updating disposable cups, containers, and utensils to be compost friendly. All food scraps, containers and cups will be placed in a compost bin and taken to a facility where they will soon turn into soil for future crops.

Health Clubs Play an Important Role in Cancer Prevention
February is Cancer Prevention Month, and IHRSA is teaming up with the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) to spread the word about how healthy behaviors can help prevent cancer. Health clubs can play an important role in helping their members and communities prevent cancer through exercise, and the 
IHRSA Foundation is launching a pilot program, ACCESS Health: Cancer Wellness, at an IHRSA club in California this year. The program focuses on using physical activity, nutrition, and stress management to improve quality of life outcomes of cancer survivors. Data from the pilot will inform future health-club based programing for cancer survivors. Read the full blog post about exercise and cancer prevention.

The Healthcare Cure Must Include Prevention
“It seems incongruous that obesity—which costs our nation an estimated $147 billion or more each year—is barely covered in medical school,” Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy, wrote in a post for the Morning Consult. “A recent study found that medical students receive hardly any training in obesity. And the exams they take to be licensed as doctors include very few questions about obesity prevention and treatment. It’s like we’re approaching healthcare reform in a vacuum.” Read the full Morning Consult post.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Gym Memberships Improve Exercise Habits, Heart Health

Gym Memberships Improve Exercise Habits, Heart Health
The results of a new study won’t come as a shock to anyone in the health club industry. People who belong to a health club not only exercised more—they also had better cardiovascular health outcomes, according to a study from a team of Iowa State University researchers. Those health benefits were even greater for those who had a gym membership for more than one year, said Duck-chul (DC) Lee, an assistant professor of kinesiology and corresponding author of the paper. "It's not surprising that people with a gym membership work out more, but the difference in our results is pretty dramatic," Lee said. "Gym members were 14 times more aerobically active than non-members and 10 times more likely to meet muscle-strengthening guidelines, regardless of their age and weight."

Wexer Launches New Virtual Training Concepts
Fit-tech company Wexer announced Thursday a suite of brand new virtual classes, which aim to meet the growing demands of today’s consumer. Since Wexer believes 2017 will be the year when people become truly aware of meditation and mindful exercise, they created a channel for club operators to deliver mediation to their members worldwide. The new content aims to promote mental and physical calm as well as deeper breathing to calm the nervous system. Wexer also met the demand for more virtual boxing earlier this year when it launched Boxx Method on all virtual players. Read the full press release about Wexer’s virtual training concepts. 

Download the Shiny, New IHRSA 2017 App!

With IHRSA 2017 rapidly approaching, we've launched a new mobile app to greatly enhance the experience for attendees in Los Angeles. Among the many functions available, the app features:  

  • A live activity feed so users can follow all the goings on at the Convention and Trade Show;
  • A leaderboard, which awards points to attendees for posting photos, updates, and taking surveys and polls and displays a top 20 list for all to see;
  • A map of the IHRSA Trade Show floor;
  • The latest updates to schedules, sessions, locations, and much more!   

Download the IHRSA 2017 app.

Motionsoft Digital Bootcamp Aims to Forward Fitness Industry Innovation
Motionsoft announced the launch of its yearly online digital education series, the Technology Summit Digital Bootcamp. The firm, which provides software, payment processing, and back office support services for the fitness, health, and wellness markets, said the bootcamp is designed to help health and fitness club professionals to capitalize on technology innovations and learn best practices from subject matter experts. The theme for the 2017 Digital Bootcamp education series, now in it’s third year, is "Cross-Industry Learning and Innovation: Technology Insights and Best Practices Fitness Firms Can Gain from the Hospitality and Retail Industries." Read the full press release about Motionsoft’s Digital Bootcamp.

IHRSA Foundation Set to Launch ACCESS Health Initiative Programs
The IHRSA Foundation announced that 2017 will see the launch of five ACCESS Health pilot programs in IHRSA clubs, from California to New York. The ACCESS Health Initiative is the IHRSA Foundation’s five-year strategic effort to remove barriers to physical activity for people with chronic conditions through participant-focused, multi-dimensional wellness programs. One such program, funded by the IHRSA Foundation and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), is a pilot to serve cancer patients in San Diego area health clubs. In addition, the IHRSA Foundation is also addressing the needs of people with disabilities. Learn more about the IHRSA Foundation’s latest initiatives.


Exercise: The Best Action You Can Take for Bone Health

The following is an excerpt from a Department of Health & Human Services blog post written by Alexandra Black, health promotion manager for IHRSA. 

Bone and Joint Action Week, October 12 – 20, is a week focused on raising awareness for the prevention, treatment, and advances made in various areas of bone and joint health, including arthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis. While physical activity may not be a new advance, it can act as both prevention and treatment for the bone and joint conditions mentioned above. 

The beneficial effects of exercise on conditions of bone and joint health are well documented. According to the Mayo Clinic, “exercise is crucial for people with arthritis” due to its beneficial impacts on strength, flexibility, joint pain, and fatigue. 

In addition, aquatic exercise has been linked to improved quality of life in osteoarthritis sufferers. Research has also demonstrated that exercise is effective in preventing low back pain, and can reduce pain in women with chronic low back pain. Group exercise classes have also been shown to reduce low back pain. Additionally, exercise has bone health benefits in women, who are at higher risk for osteoporosis and fractures as they age, and children

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the two types of exercise most important for building bone density—which can help prevent osteoporosis—are weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises. Weight bearing exercise includes things like dancing, running, and low-impact aerobics, while muscle strengthening exercises include weight lifting and functional movements. The National Arthritis Foundation recommends similar types of exercises for people with osteoarthritis, including walking, strength and endurance exercise, and flexibility work. 

While some exercises can be done at home or individually, like walking or running and body weight strength movements, fitness centers can provide a wealth of options for people with bone and joint disease to find an activity that works for them. Some examples include:  

  • Group exercise classes, which provide a social option for weight bearing exercise at high and low impact levels, such as dance or step aerobics
  • Aquatic aerobics classes, ideal for people experiencing too much pain to do weight bearing exercises, or who have balance issues
  • Yoga, which can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility
  • A variety of free and machine weights, providing an option for novices and exercise experts alike  

Regardless of the location and activity, exercise is an important tool to help prevent and ease or delay symptoms of arthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis. 

Read the post on HHS' Be Active Your Way blog.


Promote the Benefits of Exercise to Cancer Patients and Survivors 

Cancer is a group of diseases that impacts nearly everyone on the planet—it is one of the leading causes of death globally, with 14 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths reported in 2012. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over the next two decades the incidence of cancer is expected to increase by 70%. In addition, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that there were 14.5 million cancer survivors as of 2014. 

Research has shown that healthy habits like physical activity can help reduce the risk of cancer incidence, provide health and quality of life benefits during treatment, and reduce the risk of recurrence in remission. Physical activity in a health club has a number of benefits for people going through cancer treatment, as well as cancer survivors. 

Clubs provide a safe, supportive place for physical activity during treatment, offering a variety of options from mind-body classes to weight lifting. Having knowledgeable staff on hand—such as trainers and nutritionists—can help members undergoing treatment find solutions that work for them. Additionally, some clubs offer programs to cancer survivors to help them find their footing and return to a routine after treatment is completed. 

The October issue of “12 Months of Health Promotion” provides tips, ideas, and advice for catering your club’s services to cancer patients and survivors, and their families. 

This month’s resources include:  

  • 7 Things Your Club Can Do for Cancer Patients & Survivors
  • “Adding Exercise to Cancer Care: Using Medical Wellness Programs to Benefit Cancer Patients & Survivors”
  • “Case Studies in Cancer Programming”
  • Relevant articles and blog posts to read and share 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Proof that Exercise is a ‘Miracle Drug’

Time Magazine Examines the Proof that Exercise is a ‘Miracle Drug’
“As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise,” said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a genetic metabolic neurologist at McMaster University in Ontario, in Time Magazine’s September cover story. The article, “The New Science of Exercise,” provides an in-depth look at the scientific proof backing up the long-standing belief that exercise works like a miracle drug. “Despite public-awareness campaigns, the health benefits of exercise have not been effectively communicated to the average American,” the article stats. “Humans are notoriously bad at assessing the long-term benefits–and risks–of their lifestyle choices. And vague promises that exercise is ‘good for you’ or even ‘good for the heart’ aren’t powerful enough to motivate most people to do something they think of as a chore. Humans are, however, motivated by rewards. That is why experts like Tarnopolsky are so focused on proving that the scientific benefits of exercise–slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision, the list goes on–are real, measurable and almost immediate.”

IHRSA Board Members Represent at the Motionsoft Technology Summit

Several IHRSA board members and former board members attended and spoke at the Motionsoft Technology Summit in Baltimore, MD, this week. Rick Caro, former IHRSA board president and president of Management Vision, Inc., spoke at the CIO Roundtable on Wednesday, and IHRSA Board Chair Rasmus Ingerslev presented the closing keynote address on Thursday. Read our full coverage of the Motionsoft Technology Summit.

Blink Fitness Asks Members to Audition for its 2017 Ad Campaign

Blink Fitness is inviting 300,000 members to use social media to enter the company’s brand-wide casting call for its 2017 ad campaign. The digital “audition” for the campaign, which is part of Blink’s continued effort’s to advocate for body positivity, will be open until October 7. More than 300 people have already applied since the September 12 launch. Following the submissions, the finalists will be chosen and called back to stand in front of a panel of influential “casting agents” to explain why feeling good is the new looking good. Panelists will include Dascha Polanco, known for her role as Dayanara Diaz on Orange is the New Black and NFL punter, Steve Weatherford. Blink’s 2017 campaign is an evolution of its “Every Body Happy” platform, which launched earlier this year.

IHRSA Submits Comments on Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program
On September 6, IHRSA formally submitted comments to the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) concerning the proposal that Medicare cover the cost of a preventative service incorporating physical activity and diet intervention—the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP). The MDPP stands to be the first ever preventative service model certified for expansion by the CMS Innovation Center. With the proposal that Medicare will cover the cost of MDPP, health clubs are in an advantageous position to administer the program and become a vital component in the healthcare system. The program consists of educational sessions on healthy habits for individuals at risk of diabetes, evidenced by blood test results (and covered by Medicare), beginning with an initial six-month period with a core curriculum. The curriculum incorporates the importance of physical activity in healthy living, in addition to nutrition and stress management. The primary goal of the program is weight loss and behavior change to prevent against diabetes—both goals achievable in a health club setting. Read our full coverage on IHRSA's Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program comments.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Exercise is the Antidote for 5 Common Diseases

Exercise is the Antidote for 5 Common Diseases
And the benefits of exercise keep coming… Regular exercise may reduce people’s risk for five common diseases, according to a new report. Researchers analyzed 174 studies published over the last 36 years, and found that those with high levels of weekly physical activity had lower risks of getting breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. “The study findings showed the biggest benefit at 3,000 to 4,000 MET minutes a week,” WebMD reports. “A person could get 3,000 MET minutes by weaving activity into their daily routine—for example, 10 minutes of climbing stairs; 15 minutes of vacuuming; 20 minutes of gardening; 20 minutes of running; and 25 minutes of walking or cycling.” 

Study: Long-term, Intensive Training Doesn’t Damage the Heart
Is it possible to get too much exercise? In an attempt to answer the age-old question, exercise scientists studied former Olympians and other athletes to determine if years of rigorous training can irreparably injure the body and, specifically, the heart. The results are good news for athletes; “Its findings suggest that while such training can substantially change how the heart is shaped, it does not seem to cause lasting damage to the heart’s function,” reports The New York Times.    

IHRSA European Congress Registration is Now Open
You can now register for the annual IHRSA European Congress, one of the best networking opportunities for the industry in Europe. The Congress features presentations by highly respected speakers from both within and outside the industry, that focus on improving operational performance and seizing new opportunities. Attracting leaders from across Europe, the keynotes and all education sessions will be simultaneously translated into French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Over 500 pan-European leaders from the health club and fitness industry are expected to attend this year’s European Congress in Seville, Spain, 17-20 October—make sure you’re one of them! Learn more about the IHRSA European Congress.

Virtual Reality Fitness Apps Aim to Make Exercise More Exciting
Several new virtual reality (VR) fitness apps were displayed at the Virtual Reality LA Summer Expo 2016 in Los Angeles earlier this month. Blue Goji’s Goji Play essentially turns any cardio machine into a giant game controller, according to The Washington Post. It consists of two straps with buttons that wrap around the handlebars of a stationary bike, elliptical, or stepper. Combined with a VR headset and the app’s library of games, the product creates a unique exercise experience. “The VR game I tried used the Goji Play and an elliptical machine to control an antigravity racer on a futuristic neon track — quite an exhilarating, mind-bending experience,” The Post reporter wrote.