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 health promotion programs (15)


5 Ways Health Clubs Are Fighting for a Healthier World 

The fitness industry is engaged in a few fights these days—namely the fight to end global physical inactivity and the fight against adult and child obesity. Luckily, we have backup—many government, public health, and medical organizations around the globe are battling right alongside us. 

In honor of National Public Health Week, which runs April 3 - 9 in the U.S., IHRSA recognizes all the great work health clubs are doing to improve the health and wellbeing of people all over the world.

Continue reading "5 Ways Health Clubs Are Fighting for a Healthier World."

Click to read more ...


Ready to Start a Medical Wellness Program? Start Here. 

If you work in the fitness industry, you know physical activity is a key component of overall well-being and can be increased through lifestyle changes, such as joining and attending a health club.

(Photo courtesy of ACAC)

Your health club has the potential to be a critical resource for getting deconditioned, sick, and inactive individuals healthy. Health clubs provide a safe and supportive environment for pursuing healthy lifestyle change such as increasing physical activity. And medical wellness programs can be a great way to reach new members outside the 18-20% already exercising in health clubs.

However, it’s important to consider a few things before you start. In his session "Making Your Club the Pharmacy to Fill Exercise Prescriptions," Dr. Greg Degnan medical director at ACAC, highlighted a few questions you should ask yourself before starting a new program.

Continue reading "Ready to Start a Medical Wellness Program? Start Here."

Click to read more ...


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.

New Call-to-action


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 

New Call-to-action


I Want to Launch a Health Promotion Program... Where Do I Start? 

Health promotion provides a great opportunity to do several things at once: 

  1. Generate new revenue with added programs
  2. Address important health issues your members are struggling with, like weight loss
  3. Reduce costs of attrition by promoting greater member retention

Step 1: Planning and Assessment 

The first step to starting a health promotion program should be a self-assessment of your club and community. Ask yourself what your club can feasibly do given your size, location, staffing, and membership, and what your community—both members and non-members—needs.

Once you’ve determined what your community needs and what you can do to address it, identify your target audience and issue. Are you considering a program for pregnant mothers with a healthy eating and activity focus? Or will you offer a weight loss program to members and potential members who work in the area? This issue and target audience will then inform the design and implementation of your program.

As you plan your program, it is also important to consider whether the program will be open to non-members, whether it will be part of the membership fee or offered at additional cost, and who will be in charge of running and staffing the program.

More detailed information about planning and assessment, as well as a community assessment  worksheet and tips for assembling a wellness team, can be found in IHRSA’s “Building a Health Promotion Program In Your Club: An Introductory Toolkit.”

Step 2: Creating Your Program

Once you know what you are going to address and with whom, the next step is setting your goals and building a program that will get people engaged and excited.

Every health club is different, not only in terms of facility and staff size, location, equipment, and services offered, but also in terms of staff specialty and expertise, target population, and overall goals. Thus, no “one size fits all” program can be prescribed.

You can find ideas for programs in the toolkit linked above, or in IHRSA’s best practice e-books, including: 

Step 3: As You Implement Your Program, Don’t Forget About Evaluation

Many people view evaluation as the last step in the implementation of a program—get the program going, then assess how it’s doing—but it should be one of the first considerations when designing a health promotion program.

Before you design your program, you want to consider the following: 

  • What are the main objectives of your program?
  • What does success look like to you?
  • What are the best ways to measure the program’s success based on the objectives and resources at hand? 

Related reading: 


6 Best Practices to Enhance Your Business with Health Promotion Programs 

Well-executed health promotion programs can drive business to your health club and enhance member engagement, but for many club operators it is difficult to know where to start. 

To solve this pain point, three experts provided a health promotion program road map at the IHRSA 2016 session, “Boost Your Business & Enhance Your Brand with Health Promotion Programs.” During the hour-long presentation, Mike Alpert of the Claremont Club, Janet Cranston of Reh-fit Centre, and Bill Gvoich of Spectrum Fitness & Medical Wellness Center spoke to the benefits and challenges impacting clubs looking to offer health promotion programs. 

The panel offered the following best practices for establishing top-notch health promotion programs:  

  1. Use successful health promotion programs as models for creating your own. Spend some time researching programs that are currently being offered by other clubs to determine if it would be feasible to adapt one of these programs for your facility. 
  2. Create programs that are closely aligned with your club culture and brand. Tailor your programming to fit the needs of the members that you service and make sure that this programming is reflective of the mission of your business. 
  3. Ensure that your club environment is welcoming. As a club owner or operator, engaging those who are sedentary can prove to be quite challenging. Thus, marketing your club as a safe place, where people of all ability levels can come to workout is important. Training your front desk personnel on how to make people feel comfortable using your facilities is just as critical as ensuring that the proper equipment and amenities are always available.
  4. Employ staff who are champions for the programs that you offer. Staff members who believe they are making a difference in the lives of the people that they serve will act as the best promoters for your programs.
  5. Share success stories to create opportunities for greater member engagement and business expansion. Showcasing the success stories of your members is a great way to personalize the member experience and brand your business as one that cares about the goals and aspirations of your members.
  6. Determine the best method to measure the success of your programs. There are a number of different methods that can be used to evaluate the success of your program. Outcome measurements do not have to be elaborate. Looking for improvements in quality of life, comparing pre- and post-program health data, requesting participant feedback, and tracking member retention are just a few strategies that have proven to be effective.   

“Clubs are the perfect environment for offering health promotion programs because we have an opportunity to improve and save lives and we have a societal obligation to do so,” Alpert said.  


Free Member Resource: Bringing Nutrition Expertise to Your Club

When it comes to health, research shows that nutrition and physical activity go hand-in-hand, and better results are often seen when the two are combined compared to each alone. As a result, many clubs are adding nutrition expertise to their offerings. 

There is a lot of opportunity for health clubs to help their members reach their goals, improve retention, and generate new revenue by working with nutrition experts in the club. 

IHRSA’s new e-book, Bringing Nutrition Expertise to Your Club, will discuss benefits of working with a nutrition expert, review several best practices that can help clubs maximize profitability and member benefit, and highlight a few case studies of successful nutrition models. 

The e-book features:  

  • Four case studies focusing on top IHRSA member clubs have integrated nutrition expertise into their programming.
  • Best practices, business benefits, and business challenges.
  • Advice for clubs looking to start or expand on their nutrition program.
  • Helpful resources and additional information about nutrition expertise in health clubs.

New Call-to-action


New E-book Provides Tools for Heart Health Promotion Programs 

Hearts are top-of-mind in February, and not just because of Valentine’s Day. 

February is American Heart Month in the United States, a month focused on raising awareness for heart disease risk and educating the public about heart health and disease prevention. Additionally, the first Friday in February is designated “Go Red For Women” day, a day to highlight the risk women face from heart disease.

Research has consistently demonstrated that physical activity is effective for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke. As a source for health information in your community, your club is positioned both to educate the public about heart disease and to provide a solution for prevention.

The February issue of “12 Months of Health Promotion” will help you get started, with resources that will enable you to develop a health promotion program, run an awareness initiative, or educate your members on the health benefits of exercise for heart disease.

February resources include:  

  • Medical Wellness Toolkit
  • Building a Health Promotion Program in your Health Club Toolkit
  • “The Health Benefits of Exercise Report” and archive
  • Health-related blog posts to read and share 

“12 Months of Health Promotion” is a monthly series of e-books that will provide information, resources, and ideas to help you capitalize on the communication opportunities available to you in the U.S. and around the world. Look for a new issue at the beginning of each month.

New Call-to-action


4 Secrets to Actually Keeping New Year's Resolutions

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

Every January, roughly 45 percent of Americans (that’s about 135 million people) make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8 percent of us report sticking to our resolution through the year.

There’s a lot to improve upon in a world where 92 percent of people who set out on a journey of self-improvement on January 1 fail by mid-year. But successes and failures don’t just hinge on “will power” and “motivation” – they also depend on how we prepare ourselves (or don’t) to accomplish the goals we set.  There are a few things we can all do to better position ourselves to meet our New Year’s goals.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals – S.M.AR.T. goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. As an example, a common New Year’s resolution is to “go to the gym more.” As a S.M.A.R.T. goal, that might look more like “go to my health club for 30 minutes at least twice a week for three months.” This goal is specific (you will do a certain activity for a certain period of time), measurable (by attendance), most likely achievable and realistic, and bound to a certain time period (January, February, and March). Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals sets you up to succeed by building confidence and momentum toward your goal. When you meet your first S.M.A.R.T. goal, set another one.

2. Make a Plan – once you’ve got your goal, create a plan to all but ensure you will achieve it. How will you get to the health club twice a week? Here are a few examples of planning strategies:

Map out which days and times during the week it is feasible to exercise. Ask yourself“When can I reliably get away from family, school, and/or work obligations to spend 30 minutes getting my heart rate up?”Commit ahead of time. You can do this by signing up for group exercise classes at the beginning of the week to commit yourself to the process.Write your workout schedule down in your calendar so you can plan around your exercise (versus planning it around other things).

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


Wellness Initiatives Promote Good Health in Africa

This post is the last in a series of four that will provide useful information on international health promotion programs to use as successful models for your business and will help to encourage good health and wellbeing among members of your club, members of your staff, and members of your local community. View the first post heresecond post here, and the third post here

Studies have shown that physical activity is one of the most important things that anyone can do to improve their health as regular involvement can lead to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Regular physical activity has also been proven to improve mental health and increase life expectancy. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately a quarter of adults and more than 80% of adolescents worldwide are not sufficiently active.

Fortunately, health clubs have been playing a large role in helping to lessen this number by encouraging worldwide participation in physical activity.

Africa: The LiveWell Initiative 

The LiveWell Initaitive sponsored a health fair in Nigeria in November. Click the photo to learn more.

The LiveWell Initiative aims to increase overall health and wellness by improving literary competence on public health issues in Africa. Speaking about these issues helps to raise awareness and develop effective solutions through health care reform. Promoting preventative practices such as good hygiene, an active lifestyle, and healthy eating habits can increase African life expectancy and wellbeing.

A few programs specific to exercise include Project Diabesity which is similar to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to prevent obesity and diabetes among children, and an Executive Health, Work-life Balance and Workplace Wellness Activities track that can be personalized for a variety of different organizations.

To increase understanding on these issues, Life Fitness has begun offering Life Fitness Academy—a global education sector of the company, run by Director of Strength Product Management Greg Highsmith, which provides information materials for both customers and fitness professionals. When the program came to Africa a few years ago it proved to be largely successful in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nairobi.

The program takes fitness topics, such as global increases in childhood obesity, and tackles them by providing useful information to academy attendees. With this information, attendees are able to make the connection between the use of exercise equipment or time spent in a health club as a primary solution to many of these unresolved issues.

For more best practices on implementing a health promotion program in your club, see IHRSA’s toolkit on Building a Health Promotion Program in Your Club.