There are more than 40,000 health clubs across the United States. Before COVID-19 swept the country, these clubs provided jobs for nearly 800,000 Americans and access to safe and supportive places where more than 72 million people could meet their fitness goals, relieve stress, and get healthier.
It's been almost a month since states began forcing health clubs to close, and while the future of the fitness club industry is at stake, the entire country's health is at risk as well. Pre-shutdown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had an entire resource page warning of the "high health and financial costs" that come with not getting enough physical activity.
During this lockdown, physical activity levels have declined sharply, which by itself is alarming, but made even more so by the fact that obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19. In addition to this, the effects of this lockdown have been disastrous on mental health, stress, depression, etc.—all serious afflictions mitigated by regular exercise.
Bearing these alarming facts, IHRSA sent letters to each U.S. governor detailing the need—and reasons—to open health clubs as soon as it is safely possible to do so.
In the requests, IHRSA reminds governors of the central and essential role health and fitness clubs play in the promotion and maintenance of mental, physical, and social health and well-being. Health and fitness clubs are an integral part of the solution to returning citizens to a state of good health.
The letters also explained that club operators were ready, willing, and proactively wanting to work in partnership with state officials on reopening plans.