A place in the public health and healthcare communities has long been overdue for the fitness industry—and experts agree.
“Over the last 25 years, physical activity has gradually gained a foothold in our nation’s public health system, but it has not been given nearly the priority that vast amounts of scientific evidence indicate it should,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor of exercise science and director of the Children’s Physical Activity Research Group at the University of South Carolina.
IHRSA has been collating and sharing expert opinions from medical, science, and public health professionals to amplify their voices. The goal is to align the fitness industry with experts and prove to the public that exercising in a health club can be safely done during a pandemic and spread the immense benefits of leading physically active lifestyles.
The Chicago Medical Society (CMS) supported the cause.
Critical Input Comes From the Chicago Medical Society
At the end of 2020, the CMS sent a letter to the governor of Illinois, mayor of Chicago, and president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners asking that gyms remain open and open their doors early enough for medical professionals to participate in a fitness regimen.
Overall, the letter calls for health and fitness clubs that are strictly adhering to public health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remain open. The CMS’s main arguments are:
- Gyms offer innumerable benefits to both physical and mental health and
- Data demonstrates that health clubs adhering to guidelines are safe environments
The CMS’s stance on the issue of health and fitness club safety is straightforward. In the letter, CMS said, “Be assured that many of [our healthcare professionals], as this pandemic wages on, have relied heavily on access to their own health and fitness facilities to help strengthen their immunity and for the maintenance of good mental health...Our physicians and licensed healthcare professionals would not enter an environment that they felt was unsafe and we feel that it is critical to allow them the opportunity to get back into a regular fitness routine.”
The coronavirus is a public health crisis, so medical voices are integral when discussing necessary guidelines and regulations to keep the public safe. The CMS’s letter was a key factor for lawmakers to change the existing COVID-19 guidelines and allow clubs that are operating safely to remain open.