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Health Clubs Open Doors Free to Public, Promote the “Million PALA Challenge” for 8th Annual Get Active America! program in Support of Let’s Move!

For this year’s 8th Annual Get Active America! program, health clubs across the country are opening their doors for free for several days in May and are encouraging people in their local communities to develop healthy habits by enrolling in the “Million PALA Challenge”, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today. IHRSA and participating health clubs nationwide are working with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) —in support of Let’s Move!—to help America get physically active. To find participating health clubs, visit healthclubs.com/getactiveamerica. To enroll in the “Million PALA Challenge,” visit www.millionpalachallenge.org.

A joint initiative between PCFSN and Let’s Move!, the “Million PALA Challenge” aims to get at least one million Americans to sign up and achieve the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) by September 30, 2011. Get Active America! challenges participants to develop healthy habits by being active 5 days a week for at least 6 out of 8 weeks. Anyone with the desire to live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life is encouraged to participate. 

“It’s hard to make healthy lifestyle changes without the support of those around you,” says Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO. “The Get Active America! program offers inspiration. It gives individuals the support they need to springboard into a healthier, more active lifestyle—and not feel alone in doing it. By working with PCFSN and promoting the “Million PALA Challenge,” health clubs can have an even greater impact. Together, we can create a culture of wellness wherein enjoyable, physically active lifestyles are both the norm and an easy choice for all Americans.”

The Get Active America! program runs throughout May. From May 2 through 15, participating health clubs will enroll individuals—both club members and non-members—in the “Million PALA Challenge,” asking them to commit to being active 5 days a week for at least 6 out of 8 weeks. For adults, this entails 30 minutes of exercise a day—or 8,500 steps. For children, this entails 60 minutes a day, or 11,000 steps for girls and 13,000 steps for boys.

“Getting Americans active and healthy is a core objective for the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and we’re thrilled to have the support of IHRSA, and IHRSA clubs, who will focus on fun, safe and affordable fitness opportunities for individuals across the nation,” notes Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the PCFSN. “This collaboration between the President’s Council and IHRSA will help Americans work toward achieving their recommended daily physical activity and earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award.”

From May 2 through June 26, participating health clubs will provide local PALA enrollees with support and encouragement, including club-based activities, community walks and/or e-newsletters. At the program’s conclusion, IHRSA will collect the final number of award winners at each club and report the overall results to First Lady Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move! team.

Other important Get Active America! dates include:

  • May 2-5, 2011: Members Bring a Friend. Participating health clubs invite current members to bring their friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers to get physically active at the club.
  • May 6-8, 2011: Clubs Open Their Doors Free to the Public. Participating health clubs open their doors to the public, free of charge, to help Americans feel supported in learning to live more physically active and healthier lives - and in meeting their PALA or other Lufestyle Award goals.

“At a time when our communities are staggering from the effects of inactivity and related chronic disease, obesity and depression, health clubs are leading Americans to healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives,” Moore adds. “Health clubs are vital to solving America’s health woes. They are compassionate, prevention-based community partners to which Americans struggling to make smart lifestyle changes can turn. We hope many Americans, both young and old, will take advantage of Get Active America! this May and find the support they need.”

About the Million PALA Challenge
The “Million PALA Challenge” was launched on September 14, 2010, by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Council Co-chair Dominique Dawes; and Let’s Move! Executive Director Robin Schepper with the goal of having one million youth and adults across the Nation achieve the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by September 30, 2011.

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) recognizes the incorporation of regular physical activity into an individual’s everyday life. To receive the reward, adult participants 18+ years of age must be physically active 30 minutes per day (or 60 minutes per day for youth 6 to 17 years), 5 days per week, for 6 weeks. Over 100 indoor and outdoor activities count towards the daily requirement, including walking, running, aerobics, gardening and canoeing, as long as the major muscle groups are engaged at a moderate to vigorous activity level.

IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which
is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help
affect societal changes toward a more fit America. Find an IHRSA club at www.healthclubs.com.

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) is a committee of up to 25 volunteer citizens appointed by the President to serve in an advisory capacity through the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Through its programs and partnerships with the public, private and non-profit sectors, PCFSN serves as a catalyst to promote healthy lifestyles through fitness, sports and nutrition programs and initiatives that educate, empower and engage Americans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. For more information about PCFSN visit www.fitness.gov. For more information about the President’s Challenge programs, including the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) visit www.presidentschallenge.org.

About Let’s Move
The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that will engage every sector impacting the health of children and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better and get healthy. For more information about Let’s Move! visit www.letsmove.gov.

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