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.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in cancer (22)


7 Things Your Gym Can Do for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Roughly one in every 200 people living in the United States could develop some form of cancer.

Let’s just think about that for a moment. That means there could be an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer in the U.S. alone. That’s pretty scary, but thanks to advances in medical science and programs at gyms like yours, people are living longer, healthier lives with a cancer diagnosis.

Continue reading "7 Things Your Gym Can Do for Cancer Patients and Survivors."

Click to read more ...


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.


Exercise (and Health Clubs) Play Important Roles 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.

6 Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Prevent Cancer

According to AICR, 50% of the most common cancer types can be prevented by six healthy lifestyle habits:

  1. moving more;
  2. sitting less;
  3. eating a healthful diet;
  4. avoiding smoking;
  5. protecting your skin;
  6. and getting vaccinated.

Continue reading "Exercise (and Health Clubs) Play Important Roles in Cancer Prevention."

Click to read more ...


Club Fit Uses Storytelling to Engage Cancer Survivors and First Responders

Storytelling has always had the power to personally connect people through shared experiences. 

And, fortuitously, clubs provide the perfect place for people to gather and share their stories—about where they are in their fitness journey and where they hope this journey will lead them. 

Club Fit, with two locations in Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley, NY, harnessed the power of storytelling to encourage community members to acknowledge why it is important to keep active and how they can use this positive mentality to achieve their fitness goals.         

“We’re here and have a presence in the community and so people want to bring us their stories,” says Ellen Koelsch, vice president of Club Fit. “When people tell us their stories and offer unique programming ideas, we respond by saying ‘That would be great. Would you like to do this with us?’” 

Fighting Cancer with Fitness 

Cancer is a disease that directly or indirectly impacts all of us. 

The National Cancer Institute estimates that by the end of 2016, cancer will have taken the lives of 595,690 U.S. citizens. And, over the course of the next two decades, the number of new cancer cases worldwide is expected to hit a staggering 22 million. 

Taking note of the need to address rising cancer incidence and mortality rates, Club Fit decided to start a program that would help cancer patients regain their strength and conviction. And, the decision to start this program was officially solidified after attending the IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show and hearing Julie Main speak about her personal battle with cancer and the importance of overcoming the disease’s limitations with physical activity.   

A “Think Fit for Kids” fundraising event to raise money for brain tumor resarch.

Since that time, Club Fit’s cancer wellness program has employed strength training, cardio, and yoga techniques to help participants feel healthier and more confident. The program is conducted by certified instructors who create personalized fitness routines for participants of all ages and abilities. The program is free for all members and non-members are invited to participate in a 90-day free trial. 

Over the years, the program has seen continued success thanks to its strong partnerships with local doctors and hospitals who refer patients to the club.   

“Participants must have medical clearances from their doctors to be involved,” says Koelsch, “and they are required to meet with trainers ahead of time so that they know exactly what to expect at the start of the program.” 

Continue reading "Club Fit Uses Storytelling to Engage Cancer Survivors and First Responders."

Click to read more ...


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 

New Call-to-action


This Week in the Fitness Industry: NBA Launches Its First Fitness App

NBA Teams with Under Armour to Launch Fitness App
The NBA launched its first-ever fitness app on Wednesday. The app, which was produced in partnership with Under Armour, combines exclusive NBA content with Under Armour’s Connected Fitness platform. App users will be able to track and share their fitness goals and progress, participate in virtual fitness challenges, and view workout trips from NBA trainers who work with players such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. "Through this partnership, we are able to combine Under Armour’s connected fitness expertise with the league’s fitness knowledge to create an experience that inspires people to be active, eat healthy and play together," Todd Jacobson, the NBA's senior vice president of social responsibility, said in a press release, Mashable reports. 

Higher Levels of Physical Activity Linked to Lower Cancer Risk
Higher levels of moderate to vigorous activity resulted in lowered risk for 13 out of 26 types of cancer, according to a new analysis of several research studies from the U.S. and Europe. National Institutes of Health researchers looked at results from 12 studies involving 1.44 million people and found that higher levels of activity led to a 42% lower risk of esophageal cancer, a 27% lower risk of liver cancer, a 26% lower risk of lung cancer, and a 23% lower risk of kidney cancer. “Our results support that these associations are broadly generalizable to different populations, including overweight or obese individuals, or those with a history of smoking. These findings support promoting physical activity as a key component of population-wide cancer prevention and control efforts,” the researchers concluded in JAMA Internal Medicine, Reuters reports.

Virtual Reality Fitness Experience Debuts at Asia IT Show
Holodia Fitness unveiled a new virtual reality exercise experience for the for the HTC Vive headset at Computex 2016, the largest IT show in Asia, CNET reports. When using the virtual reality system while on a rowing machine, the user can choose to experience rowing in a number of locations, from ice caves in Antarctica to the Saturnine asteroid belt. “Naturally in the Antarctic I was in a fairly normal-looking kayak, while around Saturn I was in a high-tech space canoe, complete with gloved hands—if I looked up I could even see the top of my space suit's helmet,” the CNET reporter wrote. “Both times I could always see my rowing stats, like distance and time.”


Outmaneuvering Cancer Via Public Policy

The following is an excerpt from a post on The Hill's Congress Blog, written by Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy for IHRSA.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t tense up when they hear the word “cancer,” or have some other visceral response to it. It’s one of the few stand-alone words in the English language that can elicit remarkably powerful, prevailing emotions. 

Maybe that’s because cancer has affected most of us in one way or another. If we haven’t experienced cancer ourselves, chances are, someone we love and care about has. I lost my mother to cancer. 

Given the widespread physical, emotional, and financial suffering that cancer inflicts, you’d think we’d be more united as a society in doing everything possible to protect ourselves and loved ones against this seemingly ubiquitous disease. 

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about research. Although getting behind research into a cure is critically important to eradicating cancer once and for all. 

Even in President Obama’s State of the Union address, he talked about a new moonshot, raising our sights to become the country that finally cures cancer. 

But again, he was talking about research. 

I’m talking about prevention. 

More specifically, I’m talking about public policies, legislation, community planning, infrastructure, thought leadership, and the grassroots social changes needed to stop cancer before it strikes. 

Continue reading Helen Durkin’s post on The Hill’s Congress Blog


This Week in the Fitness Industry: CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym

CrossFit Members Spend More at the Gym than Other Workout Enthusiasts
CrossFit members spend more than other types of gym-goers, according to insights from Cardlytics, an Atlanta marketing firm. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cardlytics analyzed the spending patterns of people who started going to gyms in the past year. They found that CrossFit members spent an average of $120 a month at the gym—more than the $99 monthly average spent by those who take boutique cycling classes and the $75/month spent by people who take yoga, Pilates, or barre. Members of traditional multipurpose health clubs spent less than $46/month. 

Blink Fitness Video Celebrates Body Diversity
Blink Fitness—a subsidiary of Equinox—bucked the trend of using toned models in health club advertising by creating “Every Body Happy,” a marketing campaign that celebrates diverse body types, AdAge reports. The effort includes a 30-second video featuring body parts running the spectrum of shapes and sizes. "Blink stands for something different and offers a more universally relatable approach to fitness, which this campaign represents," Ellen Roggemann, vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "'Fit' looks different on everyone and we celebrate that." The video is available on Blink’s website and will be promoted on its social media channels. It will also play in Blink’s 50-plus locations. 

Millennials and Seniors Least Likely to Use Wearable Fitness Trackers
Millennials and seniors are the least likely generations to use wearable fitness trackers, but for very different reasons, mobihealthnews reports. "Millennials were more likely to select cost as their reason for not wearing their devices," Christina Hoffman, vice president of quality and strategy at Medscape, said in a presentation at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas. "On the other end of the spectrum, the Silent Generation says the reason they don’t is because a doctor hasn’t recommended it. What’s the opportunity here? The implication is that Millennials might benefit from free devices and the older generations, if the doctor says to them, this might be helpful for you, they’ll do it." The results were derived from a survey of 2,600 WebMD users.

Adrenaline May Hold the Key to Reducing Cancer Risk
Adrenaline may be the reason regular exercise reduces the risk of cancer, The Economist reports. According to a new study, injecting mice that had cancerous tumors with epinephrine—a hormone commonly known as adrenaline—reduced the growth of tumors by 61% in mice that were not physically access and 74% in mice that exercised regularly. These findings suggest that epinephrine could be used as an anti-tumor drug. The study’s lead author “is not proposing that they should be a substitute for exercise in those who are merely lazy—not least because exercise brings benefits beyond curbing oncogenesis,” the article said. “But people who are too old or too ill to be active might thus gain exercise’s anticancer benefits without the need to get sweaty.”


How Health Clubs Can Mark World Cancer Day

February 1 marks the beginning of Cancer Prevention Month in the United States, and February 4 is World Cancer Day.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that nearly a third of cases of the most common cancers—that's 340,000 cases—could be prevented if people moved more, weighed less, and ate more healthfully. Globally, cancer claims 8.2 million lives every year, 4 million of them prematurely (between the ages of 30 and 69).

World Cancer Day is about raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing individuals, organizations, and governments to take action.

The History of World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day was established in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the new millenium in Paris. The Paris Charter, which officially marked February 4 as World Cancer Day, focused on promotion of the research for curing as well as preventing the disease, improving patient service, and raising awareness globally. World Cancer Day is marked every year on the fourth of February.

Get Involved

Health clubs are providing their members the tools they need to prevent cancer everyday—a safe, supportive place to exercise and maintain a healthy weight, and information on good health and nutrition. In 2016, the IHRSA Foundation will work to develop new evidence-based programs for people living with cancer, and to document program best practices.

 IHRSA has joined the AICR's "Together We Can" campaign to help raise awareness about the healthy habits—including regular physical activity and nutritious food choices—that can help prevent cancer. Your club can mark World Cancer Day on social media in a few ways:

Click to download World Cancer Day images optimized for social sharing.Spread the word about the health benefits of exercise for cancer patients and survivors. Click the folder to download a folder of images optimized for social sharing. Share them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! 

Join the conversation on Twitter, Faceook, or Instagram using the hashtags #WorldCancerDay, #cancerprevention, and #WhyGetActive 

Share how your club is helping your community prevent and fight cancer using the hashtags or 

Learn more at