Each week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden will bring you his most important topics of the moment in a short five-minute video as part of an ongoing series called “Take 5.”

IHRSA’s Take 5: A Call to Get Involved [VIDEO]

The U.S. Congress failed to include the GYMS Act in the latest relief package—a sign for the industry to push even harder to get it passed in the next round of talks. This week, IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses what you can do to help and more.

  • March 10, 2021

Although the Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act didn’t make it through Congress this time, there’s still another chance to gather our resources and grow support for the fitness industry.

On March 4, IHRSA participated in an industry-wide action event, United We Rise - Stronger Than Ever, which explored the ways we can get our voices heard and ensure future success.

“Get involved,” IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden says in this week’s Take 5, and discusses two studies that show physical activity and getting healthy is on everyone’s mind.

Watch the full video for all of the latest news. You can also read the transcript below.

  • 0:33 - Senate Passes Relief Bill, Heads Back to House
  • 1:16 - United We Rise: A Great First Event
  • 2:35 - Industry Standards Amid a Pandemic
  • 3:38 - SFIA Study: Americans Get Active
  • 4:38 - Physical Activity Is on the Rise

The Senate passed a relief package over the weekend that, as expected, didn't include the fitness industry. However, the industry-wide event last week was a huge success and our sector is committed to Active & Safe, and implementing good industry standards continue to grow. And that's all great news because data from SFIA suggests that this pandemic is motivating more people than ever to become more active. It's time for another IHRSA Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

Senate Passes Relief Bill, Heads Back to House

We were disappointed the Senate failed to include the fitness industry in the recent relief package that passed this last weekend. But we really weren't surprised. We knew it was going to be a longshot to get included in this bill, given the timing and the restrictions as far as adding amendments to the bill, which is why we need to continue reaching out to our representatives, and keep telling them how much clubs in their communities need targeted relief. We're looking forward to the next opportunity for the GYMS Act, and we need your help so that we can be ready. We also need the help of your members and friends to reach out to Congress and just let them know that we still need their assistance.

United We Rise: A Great First Event

Last Thursday, leaders in the fitness industry, including a litany of the top allied organizations, joined us live for the first industry-wide action event. We discussed opportunities to elevate the industry through advocacy and public policy, and look toward the future. If you weren't able to join us, let me share a short clip of what Representative Mike Quigley, who was one of the original cosponsors of the GYMS Act, shared with the audience.

The federal government needs to provide assistance to your businesses which are hurting through no fault of your own. As you well know, if we don't, it will be a disaster for the loss of small business and the loss of local jobs. And it would be a disaster for the communities and individuals who rely [on your] gyms to help them stay healthy. I will continue to do what I can to push for this financial support until your facilities receive the assistance they need.

At the next United We Rise - Stronger Than Ever event we're discussing industry public relations, and I hope I'll see all of you there. In the meantime, we posted a portion of the event on YouTube and we encourage you to check it out and more importantly, to get involved.

Industry Standards Amid a Pandemic

It's hard to believe that it's been one year since this pandemic began. To say this has been a challenging year is quite the understatement. But I just want to say how proud I am of all the clubs as well as the industry partners who've gone above and beyond to keep their staff, members, and customers safe during these unprecedented times.

Businesses making the Active & Safe commitment offer real testimony to how dedicated all of you are to the health and well-being of your communities. These standards help reassure your members and your community that health and fitness facilities really are taking precautions to keep them safe. IHRSA is currently working on long-term facility standards, so if you have any questions or want more information, or would like to get involved, please email us at standards@ihrsa.org. These guidelines are even more helpful as states like Texas discontinue mandates and leave it up to businesses to set their own guidelines. We hope you'll let us help you do that.

SFIA Study: Americans Get Active

Recently, the SFIA released a report that helps highlight why health clubs will be crucial as things start to finally normalize, if we could say that. The report found that during the pandemic Americans started to prioritize being active. Key findings from the report included the inactivity rate declined by 7 million Americans from 2019 to 2020. Yoga participation increased by 17.1% during that same period. At home fitness surged with Pilates gaining 7.2% participation, kettlebells 5.6% increase, dance, step, and other choreographed exercise increased 5%. So as clubs start to reopen, there may be a lot more people looking to expand these new routines that they've developed and build on some new exercise habits.

Physical Activity Is On the Rise

The focus on more active lifestyles really couldn't come at a more crucial time. Between the CDC's report that life expectancy in the United States fell by one year in the first six months of the pandemic, the lowest it's been in the last 15 years, along with a report from the World Obesity Federation stating the risk of death from COVID-19 is about 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight, we need to continue making the point that exercise and healthy lifestyles are more than essential—they are vital.

Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you again next week. Take care.

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Rachel Valerio

Rachel Valerio is the Digital Content Editor for IHRSA. During the workweek, she is discovering exciting fitness industry news, staying on top of IHRSA's social media accounts and website, and hatching new plans to expand the association's digital footprint. Rachel's free time is mostly spent on pampering her cat, attempting new recipes, planning trips to visit her family in the Southwest (aka stock up on green chile), and exploring all things New England.