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 heart disease (13)


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: A Single Workout Could Be Good for the Heart

A Single Workout Could Be Good for the Heart
Just one single workout could be good for the heart, according to a study featured on The New  York Times’ Well Blog. Researchers found that when mice spent 30 minutes on a treadmill, it affected gene activity within cardiac cells in ways that could slow the aging of their hearts over time. “Although the study involved mice, the results may help to explain just how, at a cellular level, exercise improves heart health in people as well,” the article states.

Prepare for IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in LA
In less than two weeks, thousands of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers will convene in Los Angeles for IHRSA 2017. The event will feature more than 100 education sessions, 350+ Trade Show exhibitors, and scores of networking opportunities. To help you prepare—and get the most out of your convention experience—IHRSA staff put our heads together and created three tip-sheets: 

Exercise May Help Obese Women Avoid Pregnancy Complications
Exercising during pregnancy may help obese women lower their risk of dangerous complications, including diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a study by Oregon Health and Science University. “The study suggests that a prenatal exercise-based intervention leads to both decreased costs and improved outcomes in obese women,” said Leah Savitsky, a medical student who led the study. For the study, Savitsky and her team analyzed previously published research on the effect of exercise on pregnant women with a body mass index of at least 30. They calculated that for every one million obese pregnant women, there would be 38,176 cases of preeclampsia (a pregnancy-related blood pressure problem) among those who exercised, compared to 113,000 cases among those who didn’t exercise. They also found exercise may be linked to a decrease in gestational diabetes, with a rate of 195,520 per million among exercisers compared to 305,500 among non-exercisers.

Health Club Owners Get Their News from Industry Publications
Nearly 69% of club operators said that “industry publications” was their main source of industry news and information, according to a blind survey IHRSA commissioned in the Fall of 2016. Rounding out the top three responses were “internet search” at 64% and “conferences” at nearly 62%. Among IHRSA members, industry publications, such as Club Business International magazine, was the top resource for 78.4% of respondents, while “conferences” was the #2 resource chosen by 70.3% of respondents, and associations/federations by 64.9%. Read our full blog post about where club owners get industry news.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: ClassPass Sets Sights on Expanding Across the U.S.

ClassPass Sets Sights on Expanding Across the U.S.
ClassPass’ rapid growth shows no signs of stopping, according to CBS News. The fitness company, which enables members to attend different types of exercise classes at multiple health clubs and studios, has expanded to 29 metropolitan areas in the U.S. since it began in New York in 2013. "We are going to be continuously expanding to cities with different models through the rest of this year and into next year," CEO Payal Kadakia told CBS. "We'll be in every market in the U.S." ClassPass prices vary by city, ranging from $79 to $125/month, according to company’s website. 

Technogym’s Nerio Alessandri Shows Off His Home Gym
The home gym “should not only be a space to work out,” Nerio Alessandri, founder and president of Technogym, told The Wall Street Journal. “My philosophy is that it should be a social space” that accommodates family and friends, he said. Alessandri, whose Cesena, Italy-based company has thrived internationally since it began in 1983, gave The Journal access to the spacious gym in his home. “The gym should not be in a hidden area—it should be in a part of the house where you want to spend time,” said Alessandri, whose gym is on the first floor of his home, “in a part where there are some beautiful arches and lots of light.”

Gatorade Goes High-tech with Future Microchip-fitted Bottle Cap
Your bottle of Gatorade is about to get a little more high-tech—the PepsiCo brand is developing a microchip-fitted “smart cap” bottle and sweat patch that will communicate digitally to provide athletes with updates on how much they should drink, according to Fox Business. Since hydration needs vary, Gatorade says it plans to launch up to a dozen different formulas for electrolytes and carbohydrates in small pods that snap on to bottles. This line isn’t the only new product coming from Gatorade—they’ve recently come out with protein chews, bars, powders, shakes, and a “night yogurt” to help rebuild muscles while sleeping. On Friday, the sports drink company will give South by Southwest festival attendees a sneak peek at the prototypes with a four-room interactive display. 

Study: Dancing Might Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
A new study has found that moderate intensity dancing is tied to a lower risk of dying from heart disease. For the study, scientists analyzed data from population surveys in the U.K. between 1995 and 2007, including more than 48,000 adults age 40 and older with no cardiovascular disease at baseline. The surveys asked participants about the frequency, duration, and intensity of dancing and walking over the previous four weeks. “During follow-up, there were 1,714 deaths due to cardiovascular disease,” Reuters reports. “People who reported moderate intensity dancing and walking were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who did not, even after accounting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol use, body mass index, chronic illness, psychosocial distress and total physical activity, as reported online now in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.” 

U.S.’s Largest Health Insurer Rolls Out Wearable Incentive Program
UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurer in the U.S., is collaborating with Qualcomm to provide wearable fitness trackers to certain employer health plans. The new program would allow workers to earn up to $1,460 over the course of a year for meeting certain fitness goals. "We know from the science there is a healthcare value for exercise—pretty straightforward," Steve Beecy, a vice president with UnitedHealthcare, told the Star Tribune. "They will be given a tracker as part of their insurance premium. Its unique algorithm tracks the frequency of the walk, the intensity and the tenacity." The program, called UnitedHealthcare Motion, is available to companies with between 101 and 300 employees in about a dozen states, with more to be added this year. 


Poor Physical Fitness Linked to Cardio-metabolic Risk Factors in Children

A study in the International Journal of Obesity looked at the relationship between physical fitness and cardio-metabolic risk factors in a group of European children. The study included 1,635 kids ages 6-11 and results were measured over the course of two years. Fitness was assessed with cardiorespiratory fitness, lower and upper limb strength, balance, flexibility, and speed.

The results showed that low levels of physical fitness were associated with a higher risk of having multiple metabolic risk factors. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness and lower limb strength were most predictive of cardio-metabolic risk factors, namely waist circumference, blood lipid levels, and insulin resistance. Fitness was not found to be predictive of high blood pressure. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for kids to be physically active and maintain fitness levels. 

Zaqout M, Michels N, Bammann K, Ahrens W, Sprengeler O, Molnar D, Hadjigeorgiou C, Eiben G, Konstabel K, Russo P, Jimenez D, Moreno LA, De Henauw S. Influence of physical fitness on cardio-metabolic risk factors in European children. IDEFICS study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Feb 9. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.22. [Epub ahead of print]

Tweet image      Download and share image


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


Fitness In Young Adulthood Could Reduce Cardiovascular Risk Later In Life

Previous research has linked cardiorespiratory fitness to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness in young adulthood and cardiovascular risk later in life is less clear cut. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine looked at the impact of fitness in early adulthood on cardiovascular disease. The study assessed over 4,872 participants using a treadmill test at baseline and tested 2,472 of those that underwent a second test at seven years. Researchers followed participants for an average of 26 years. 

Results of the study indicated that every additional minute achieved during the treadmill test was linked to a 15% lower risk of premature death and a 12% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Among the participants who took tests both at baseline and seven years, a one minute reduction in time spent on the treadmill was associated with 21% higher odds of death and 20% higher odds of having cardiovascular disease.

Health clubs provide a safe, engaging environment for all ages to exercise.

Shah RV, Murthy VL, Colangelo LA, Reis J, Venkatesh BA, Sharma R, Abbasi SA, Goff DC Jr, Carr JJ, Rana JS, Terry JG, Bouchard C, Sarzynski MA, Eisman A, Neilan T, Das S, Jerosch-Herold M, Lewis CE, Carnethon M, Lewis GD, Lima JA. Association of Fitness in Young Adulthood With Survival and Cardiovascular Risk: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Nov 30:1-9. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.6309. [Epub ahead of print]

Tweet image      Download and share image


Increased Activity Decreases Incidence of Heart Failure 

Existing research has shown a link between physical exercise and heart failure risk factors like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A study in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure assessed the impact of physical activity on fitness and heart failure. Researchers reviewed ten studies involving over 282,000 people. 

Results indicated that both physical activity and fitness level were associated with a lower risk of incident heart failure, typically defined as a hospitalization for new onset heart failure. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for people to be physically active and improve their fitness.

Echouffo-Tcheugui JB1, Butler J2, Yancy CW3, Fonarow GC4. Association of Physical Activity or Fitness With Incident Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Circ Heart Fail. 2015 Jul 14. pii: CIRCHEARTFAILURE.115.002070. [Epub ahead of print]

Tweet image     Download and share image


Study: lack of exercise, not smoking, higher cause of heart disease for women over 30

It may be hard to believe but lack of exercise is a higher cause of heart disease in women over 30 years old than smoking, according to a recent study in Australia.

Age 30 is around the time many women start a family, so smoking rates usually decrease but so does time for exercise.

“We already know physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease," said Thembi Nkala, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. "Interestingly, this study shows its dominant influence on heart disease amongst women, and suggests a greater need to promote regular physical activity amongst this group."

Learn more on the Business Insider website.


Exercise key in health of those with coronary artery disease

It has been said many times here, while also repeated by IHRSA in many other areas, that the benefits of exercise cannot be overstated.

A new study now shows that those with coronary artery disease have less chance of a heart attack, and their survival rate is much higher, when they exercise regularly.

"In our study, the patients who were most fit had a 75 percent lower risk of dying from any cause compared to those who were least fit. This was true regardless of whether the patient had previous stenting or bypass surgery to open up any blocked arteries," said lead author Rupert Hung, a medical student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Visit the Science Daily website for more on this story.


Heart Disease, Stroke Deaths Could Be Prevented

The HealthDay News recently reported in a WebMD online report that more than 200,000 Americans under the age of 75 died from heart disease and stroke in 2010. Health officials say those deaths could have been prevented.

Sadly, more than half of those who died were under 65, according to a new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, "Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States." Fonarow is also a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Read the rest of the story.