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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Entries in eBooks (26)


5 Ways Your Health Club Benefits from Community Outreach

Community outreach programs—those that offer important club resources to the community outside the constructs of membership—can help your club in a number of ways.

Continue reading "5 Ways Your Health Club Benefits from Community Outreach."

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3 Keys to Successful Health Club Programming for Older Adults

Exercise is good for older adults—and older adults are good for your health club.

The global population is getting older—11.7% of the Earth’s population is over age 60, and this share is expected to grow to 21% by 2050. Fortunately for health clubs, older adults are more active than ever before, and the medical and public health communities are increasingly noting the mental and physical health benefits of remaining active into older age.

Older adults are one of the fastest growing membership groups—health club memberships climbed 72% among people older than 55 between 2005 and 2015. Many older adults are retired, so they have the time to join a health club. They can fill off-peak hours in the club, and tend to be some of the most loyal members.

Continue reading "3 Keys to Successful Health Club Programming for Older Adults."

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Everything You Need to Map Your Club’s 2017 Health Promotion Plan 

Throughout 2016 we released monthly health promotion e-books, each one sharing information, tips, and resources about a timely topic. Now that the year is through, we’ve rolled all 12 e-books into one. 

The “12 Months of Health Promotion Compilation” contains everything you need to plan your health promotion program for the year ahead. From heart health promotion in February to holiday engagement in December, this master e-book has you covered. 

Here are the monthly topics you’ll find inside:  

  • January: Turn ‘Resolutioners’ Into Engaged Members 
  • February: Tools for Heart Health Promotion Programs 
  • March: Resources for Health Club Nutrition Programs 
  • April: Improve the Health of Your Community 
  • May: Promote Physical Activity on Social Media 
  • June: Grow Your Corporate Wellness Programs 
  • July: Attract More Seniors to Your Health Club 
  • August: Filling Exercise Prescriptions in Your Club 
  • September: Create an Active Generation of Kids 
  • October: Promote the Benefits of Exercise to Cancer Patients and Survivors 
  • November: Support Your Health Club Members at Risk of Diabetes 
  • December: Keep Your Health Club Members Engaged Over the Holidays  

Even if you downloaded each and every individual edition listed above, you still don’t want to miss the compilation—we’ve updated past issues to include the most up-to-date information and added new resources. So take advantage of this free member resource and help to build a healthier membership and community.

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Keep Your Health Club Members Engaged Over the Holidays

The months of December and January can be both a blessing and a curse for health clubs due to the many holidays that fall during those winter months. 

Holiday Barriers to Working Out 

Many of these holidays revolve around family and community celebrations, food, and travel, and tend to be a time where people feel stressed and pressed for time. It is widely recognized that during “the holidays” people often let healthy habits slide—regular habits like coming to the club, packing lunch, and getting enough sleep can be superseded by holiday celebrations, shopping, or travel.

These challenges are a big reason January ends up with a prominent focus on weight loss and “getting back into shape.” On average, people gain two pounds during the holiday season and the habit changes that accompany it.

How to Help Members Make the Gym a Priority

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Health clubs are well suited to help their members and communities continue to maintain healthy behaviors through busy and festive times of the year, whether through challenges, community events, or leveraging technology to help people stay on track. 

This December issue of “12 Months of Health Promotion” provides tips and resources to help clubs keep their members motivated and engaged during the winter holidays. Resources include: 

  • 7 Tips to Keep Members Engaged During the Holidays
  • Strategies from the “Wearables 2.0: Leveraging the Evolution of Digital Health Technology for Fun and Profit“ webinar
  • Relevant articles and blog posts to read and share

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Spread the Word About PHIT with Our Handy Toolkit

What if your members and prospects could save money on fitness expenses while improving health? 

If that happened, the benefits you might reap include:  

  • More members joining
  • Current members using more ancillary services
  • Better member retention  

Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not—those benefits could become reality thanks to the PHIT Act. And we have all the tools you need to spread the word to members.

PHIT Would Make Health Club Membership More Affordable

The PHIT Act is federal legislation that would allow any American to use pre-tax accounts like Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) to pay for qualified fitness expenses. Currently, the IRS code only allows these accounts to be utilized for medical expenses.

By allowing HSAs and FSAs to pay for fitness expenses, Americans will be able to use $1,000 pre-tax for health club memberships or fitness activities; families will be able to budget $2,000. If passed, it is estimated that individuals and families would see a savings of 20-30% on fitness expenses.

Simply put, under the PHIT Act, health club membership is more affordable.

Everything You Need to Launch a GET PHIT Awareness Campaign

PHIT has bipartisan support in Congress, but we need your help. By educating your members about PHIT, you can help lay the groundwork for the legislation’s success.

The Get PHIT campaign is designed to educate health club members about the importance of passing this legislation, through having the club play the critical role of the conduit in the education process. As fitness consumers, your members stand to save money and prevent disease if PHIT is successful. Clubs that are familiar with the PHIT Act have an excellent opportunity to spread the word about PHIT and attract broad support for the measure.

How a Get PHIT awareness campaign will work at your club is up to you, but we suggest using the communication tools in this toolkit to educate your staff, members, and community about PHIT. This will provide your members with the knowledge base they need for encouraging others to lend additional support.

That way, when PHIT advances in Congress, your members will feel confident reaching out to their members of Congress and urging them to support this legislation through an IHRSA grassroots advocacy campaign.

Once you download Get PHIT: Tools to Design an Awareness Campaign at Your Club for the Personal Health Investment Today Act you’ll have several ready-to-use resources, including: 

  • A sample blog post explaining the importance of PHIT to your members
  • An eye-catching infographic that you can share on your social networks
  • A series of tweets and facts ready to post on your Twitter account
  • A meme-generator to help you communicate the value of PHIT in a fun way
  • FAQs that explain PHIT’s eligible fitness expenses, what it costs, and more! 

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Establish Successful Health Promotion Programs with IHRSA’s New E-book

Strategic health promotion programs can yield dividends for your health club. Some ways health promotion can benefit your club are: 

It builds business. Health promotion programming is good for your business, and acts as a great way to bring in new members and retain existing ones. Not only that, but establishing a unique offering of health promotion programs can generate new sources of revenue for your club. 

It creates new and lasting partnerships. When it comes to developing a health promotion program, working with a partner is an excellent way to ensure success rather than trying to “go it alone.” Potential partnerships can be established with a hospital, business, or other organization. 

It establishes your club as a trusted authority in the local community. Making an effort to research and provide unique health promotion offerings for specific members of the local community, brands your business as one that is committed to helping everyone achieve their personal wellness goals. 

Those are just some of the reasons that IHRSA decided to launch our first-ever health promotion program track during IHRSA 2015 in Los Angeles. The track was so well-received for the second year at IHRSA 2016 in Orlando that we’ll be bringing it back when we return to Los Angeles in 2017. 

If you couldn’t join us in Orlando, or if you were there but need a refresher course, we created a new e-book, “How to Establish Successful Health Promotion Programs: Lessons from IHRSA 2016 to Help You Build Your Health Promotion Offerings.” 

The e-book provides:  

  • Summaries of the key take-a-ways from the IHRSA 2016 health promotion sessions
  • Suggestions from leading industry experts
  • Answers to questions you may have on health promotion program models and strategies
  • Additional resources that you can use to learn more 

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Increase Health Club Member Engagement Through Community Service (and Our New E-book)

Health clubs and health club operators have always been in the business of giving—by providing practical guidance, a safe environment, and inclusive programming options for people of all ages and abilities to be regularly active.   

And now more than ever, clubs are extending their generosity beyond their four walls by focusing on identifying the needs of the larger community and then creating programs to address these needs.  

Responses to these targeted program offerings have been tremendous. Community members that take part in club outreach initiatives see results ranging from a renewed motivation to be physically active to a significant increase in quality of life. Most importantly, any and all of these outcomes have left participants feeling happier, healthier, and better prepared to take on any new challenges that lie ahead. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a new e-book, “Increasing Engagement Through Community Service: Examples from IHRSA Clubs.” 

This member-only publication highlights case studies from five IHRSA members with impactful community service programs: 

  • Gainesville Health & Fitness
  • GIVE Fitness
  • Franco's Athletic Club
  • Gold's Gym Dutchess County
  • Club Fit 

The e-book’s community outreach case studies are meant to inspire you to offer a community service program of your own, provide ideas on new outreach programs, and encourage you to share this information with others who are interested in expanding the health and fitness industry’s reach beyond health club walls. 

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Support Your Health Club Members at Risk of Diabetes 

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 415 million people have diabetes worldwide—that’s one in 11 adults. As a result, $673 billion is spent on diabetes every year—a number that adds up to 12% of global health expenditures. 

Luckily, health clubs are uniquely positioned to help members with diabetes, as well as those who are at risk.

Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise 

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in many cases by maintaining a healthful lifestyle in including good nutrition, regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. 

Research shows that even modest weight loss due to diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58% in those at risk. Studies have also indicated that exercise can help people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes manage their condition. 

How Health Clubs Can Help Prevent Diabetes 

If your members are coming to the club regularly, you are already supporting their efforts to live a healthful lifestyle. But preventing diabetes goes beyond exercise and often occurs over a long period of time. There are other things a club can do to help educate their members and aid them in delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes. 

The November issue of “12 Months of Health Promotion” provides tips to help your club help those with or at risk for diabetes, links to helpful resources, and articles to share with staff and members. 

This month’s resources include:  

  • 7 Ways Your Club Can Help Your Members with Diabetes
  • “Opportunity Is Knocking: What You Need to Know About the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program” (handout)
  • Relevant articles and blog posts to read and share

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Boost Member Engagement and Activity with the Monday Mile Starter Kit

Mondays are notorious for being the worst day of the week. Something about that transition from the weekend back to work or school makes people grumpy, and for many it takes a lot of energy to just get through the day—never mind finding motivation to exercise. 

That’s where the Monday Mile—and health clubs—come in.   

The Monday Mile is part of Move It Monday, an international campaign which encourages people of all fitness levels to get moving each week starting on Monday. As part of Move It Monday, the Monday Mile encourages people to walk a mile every Monday as part of their physical activities. 

IHRSA has teamed with Move It Monday to create the Monday Mile Starter Kit—a toolkit designed to help health clubs promote the Monday Mile in their facilities, and to leverage the program to boost engagement. It includes:  

  • Instructions on how to jumpstart a mile walking program with club members and prospects
  • Tips for incorporating the Monday Mile in multiple types of settings in addition to the health club, such as a school, workplace, or community setting
  • Sample social media posts
  • Route planning tools
  • Graphics to use around the club and route  

This is the second IHRSA member benefit created jointly by IHRSA and the Monday Campaigns. In 2014, IHRSA and the Monday Campaigns released the Move It Monday Toolkit for IHRSA members, focused on harnessing the power of Monday's motivation to be more active and engaged with the club all week long. 

“It’s exciting to partner with IHRSA, this time encouraging the association’s members to use our Monday Mile Starter Kit to get more people walking,” says Peggy Neu, The Monday Campaigns president. “With the Monday Mile, individuals and communities can jumpstart their week on a healthy track. Everyone benefits from the exercise, as well as from the camaraderie that walking together brings.”

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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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