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: Good Things to Come [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden shares some good news on the state of member confidence, positive research and polling outcomes, a new dedication to the IHRSA Foundation, and what U.S. clubs can do as the new Congress begins.

  • January 27, 2021

We’re keeping the positive momentum of the new year going as the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” becomes more apparent.

Brent shares some evidence in this week’s Take 5. For one, club owners are reporting to us that first responders who have received the vaccine are rejoining their gyms. Plus, a new report from the Mayo Clinic and a CivicScience survey give more reasons for a positive outlook.

IHRSA is also “putting our money where our mouth is” by establishing an investment of 1% of all revenue into the IHRSA Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, Brent announces.

While there is plenty of good, hopeful news to look toward, health clubs are still struggling. And with a new Congress taking the helm, we have another shot at making our voices heard. Through IHRSA’s advocacy efforts, join us in the push to include the industry in the upcoming stimulus package.

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

  • 0:18 - Vaccine Is Already Restoring Confidence in Returning to Clubs
  • 0:51 - The IHRSA Foundation
  • 2:07 - Positive Research & Survey Results
  • 3:24 - Tweet Congress, Gyms Need Relief

Full Transcript

I have some positive new research and survey results to share, a bit of good news, a look at where IHRSA’s headed, and what you can do today to help remind Congress that the industry needs relief right now.

So let's get into this week's Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

Vaccine Is Already Restoring Confidence in Returning to Clubs

I want to start with some really good news. It's looking like confidence in the vaccine is already starting to show. I've heard from clubs just this last week that first responders—their members— who have received the vaccine are already reactivating their gym memberships, after having them be on hold for quite some time

So while these healthcare workers may have always been advocates of the important role physical activity plays in staying healthy, nevertheless, evidence of their willingness to return to clubs is a good sign for all of us and of things to come.

The IHRSA Foundation

Speaking of good things to come, some of you may not be aware that IHRSA actually has a 501c3 charitable organization. It's called the IHRSA Foundation and its mission is simply to promote health through exercise.

It's been around for several years, and something that's near and dear to my heart. I actually established it back when I was serving on the board of directors. So when I accepted the position as interim CEO, I wanted to make sure all the hard work and good the Foundation has done doesn't go unnoticed.

The Foundation [has] always focused on helping more people be more active. But I'm happy to announce that moving forward IHRSA is dedicated to putting our money where our mouth is. Starting this year in 2021, we're investing 1% of all IHRSA revenue into the Foundation's initiatives that are promoting physical activity. This cause is at the core not only of our overall industry, but also of the association itself.

We're doubling down on our commitment to the research, education, and evidence-based programming that support our mission. This includes our current work with Special Olympics, supportive health equity initiatives, and inclusive fitness programming. A new Foundation website's underway for you to find out more, so please stay tuned, we look forward to your involvement.

Positive Research & Survey Results

Recently, some positive research and survey results were shared with me that I wanted to pass along to all of you. The first is a study by researchers at the Henry Ford Health System. And this information was published in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. [The] researchers looked at the difference in aerobic fitness between over 1,000 COVID-positive patients that had undergone previous exercise stress tests on a treadmill. What they found was that those who were in better aerobic shape were less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19.

The other results I wanted to share with you are from a civic science survey of over 3,000 U.S. adults on their diet and exercise plans looking into 2021. They found that 49% of adults plan to eat healthier this year, and 51% plan to exercise more. The interesting thing is that they also asked if they had home fitness equipment or plan to buy any and of the people who plan to exercise more, 56% said they did not have home equipment and did not plan to buy any either.

Tweet Congress, Gyms Need Relief

There's some great news for Philadelphia health clubs. On Friday, the city of Philadelphia announced a $12 million grant program designed to provide financial relief to gyms and restaurants. And while this is fantastic for those clubs in Philadelphia, clubs across the entire country are also hurting and need relief.

[The] 117th Congress has now begun working on a stimulus package. Our team has already been in contact with representatives and senators who believe in the important role physical activity in the fitness industry plays as part of the health of people across the entire country.

Sadly, according to the latest data, roughly 44% of U.S. fitness professionals have already lost their [jobs] during this crisis. So we're doing everything we possibly can to make sure the fitness industry is included in the next relief package. But we really need your help to remind them that the health and fitness industry has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Right now, Congress members and their staff are monitoring social media to see what matters most to their constituents. So, while we work on getting an industry-specific relief bill introduced in the new Congress, we need you, your family, friends, and even your members, to visit [ihrsa.org/tweetforfitness] and tweet at your member of Congress today. Tell them not to forget about health clubs and that the industry needs relief right now.

Thanks for joining me and I'll see everyone next week.

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Rachel Valerio

Rachel Valerio previously served as IHRSA's Digital Content Editor—a position focused on collecting and reporting on 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.