5 Ways Your Gym Can Promote Heart Health

Since February is American Heart Month, we've put together some easy ways your gym can promote healthy hearts for your members well past Valentine's Day.

Research suggests that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, likely due to waning motivation or frustration at the early results. This makes February a great time to remind members why they set their resolutions in the first place.

Weight loss is a top resolution every year, but some data suggests that setting more health-oriented goals might lead to better success. According to a survey of parents published in Journal of Physical Activity & Health, exercising for stress management and revitalization, but not for health or appearance, predicted exercise behavior over the course of a year.

This means that prioritizing health was a stronger motivator for those survey respondents than prioritizing other goals. And it just so happens that the waning of new years resolution motivation coincides with American Heart Month in the U.S. So use this February to promote a heart healthy message to your members.

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5 Ways Your Gym Can Promote Heart Health

1. Provide a Wide Range of Fitness Opportunities

Cardio isn't the only way to get your heart pumping. Interval training, strength, and mind-body are all essential to a healthy heart. Offer a variety of options and classes like HIIT, yoga, and strength at varying levels so members can find something that is right for them.

2. Focus on Nutrition

Exercise is only one part of heart health. A healthy diet low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar is also critical. Educate your members by posting visuals, offering nutrition counseling, or bringing in nutrition experts to give talks at your club.

3. Provide Some Bonus Health Education

In addition to diet and exercise, awareness of medical risk factors like waist circumference, blood pressure, and cholesterol can be pivotal. Clubs can include some of these metrics as part of their health risk assessment, or bring in an expert to do evaluations yearly.

4. Incorporate Lessons Around Your Club

There are opportunities all around your club to help members start practicing healthier habits. For example, if you have a café, consider offering options that fit into a heart-healthy diet, and mark them with an icon letting members know it’s a heart-healthy item.

5. Support a Community Event

Many organizations and hospitals raise money for heart disease awareness and research. Consider participating in an event—such as an American Heart Association Heart Walk—with your members to get them and your club more involved in the heart health community. This type of community event could also provide some bonus networking opportunities with the medical community.

How does your club promote heart health? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

Author avatar

Alexandra Black Larcom @ihrsagetactive

Alexandra Black Larcom, MPH, RD, LDN, is the Senior Manager of Health Promotion & Health Policy for IHRSA. She spends her days working on resources and projects that help IHRSA clubs offer effective health programs in their communities, and convincing lawmakers that policies promoting exercise are an excellent idea. Outside the office you'll most likely find Alex at the gym, running on the Charles River, or, in the fall, by a TV cheering on the Florida Gators.