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: Leading by Example [VIDEO]

U.S. leaders show their commitment to fitness—will that translate to more support for the GYMS Act? This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses that and reveals more startling stats on exercise levels.

  • February 17, 2021

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to jog. Russian President Vladimir Putin plays hockey. U.S. President Biden cycles on his Peloton and Vice President Harris gets her cardio in with a run up the Lincoln Memorial steps.

Leaders who prioritize their health send a message to the constituency: Fitness and physical activity is necessary and vital.

More U.S. lawmakers are backing that message by supporting the GYMS Act, which would create a $30 billion fund to provide grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry. So far, 14 U.S. representatives have signed on to support the bill’s passage.

In this week’s Take 5, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden reveals the GYMS Act Dashboard, a “one-stop shop” to see the progression of the bill and what you can do to help get it passed. Darden also discusses two UK studies that shed light on behavior change, mental health, and exercise during a pandemic.

  • 0:28 - Physical Activity and the Executive Branch
  • 1:07 - GYMS Act Update: Sponsors and Dashboard
  • 2:34 - Study: Less Exercise Leads to Decline in Mental Health
  • 3:05 - Survey: Youth Activity Levels Dropped in 2020

Full Transcript

Will the president and vice president's commitment to exercise help motivate Congress, perhaps? And, it's been almost two weeks since the GYMS Act was introduced. Let's talk about how the relief bill is looking. Finally, there's concerning data emerging out of the UK about children's activity levels and sadly, I think we may see similar findings worldwide. It's time for another IHRSA Take 5 sponsored by Precor.

Physical Activity and the Executive Branch

Recently, a video of Vice President Harris working out at the Lincoln Memorial went viral of her jogging up and down the steps. And a few weeks ago, there was a lot of talk about how President Biden likes to start his mornings off by working out on Peloton. It's great to see the highest levels of government have a commitment to physical activity and appreciate the health benefits of exercise. Hopefully, this will translate to greater support of legislation that will help incentivize more to be physically active and also help us get relief for the fitness industry included in the future economic packages. It certainly can't hurt.

GYMS Act Update: Sponsors and Dashboard

First, I want to thank the 14 U.S. representatives who have already signed on to support the GYMS Act. While there's no magic number of sponsors to get a bill passed, and every single new sponsor gets this bill that much closer to passing, we really need to get a majority of support, and that would help us out tremendously. If passed, the GYMS Act would create a $30 billion fund to help the health and fitness industry. If you haven't already, please visit the link on your screen and ask your state representative to support the GYMS Act and also share the link with all your friends, family—anyone can help us in this effort. Thousands of letters have already been sent to Congress and we need to keep it rolling.

Also, you don't have to wait for my weekly Take 5s to get an update on how the GYMS Act is progressing. At IHRSA, we've developed a GYMS Act Dashboard as a one-stop shop for industry advocates. Here you'll find links to our one-click letter-writing campaigns that make it so easy, up-to-the-minute information on sponsors, outreach by state letting you know who can contact, and who our top targets are overall. If you have a connection with a representative on the list, please let us know these are really prime targets for the passage of the GYMS Act.

Study: Less Exercise Leads to Decline in Mental Health

The UK, like many countries, are in yet another round of lockdowns, unfortunately. A recent University College London study compared participant's behavior during this lockdown with the first one nearly a year ago. And what they found was that 40% are exercising less and only 13% of people say that they're actually exercising more. They also found that 1 out of 5 people are watching TV, streaming movies and gaming more.

Survey: Youth Activity Levels Dropped in 2020

Another recent survey found less than half of UK kids met the recommended amount of daily exercise, and 2.3 million children did less than 30 minutes a day. I don't think these statistics really surprise anyone given the events of the last year, of course, but they really do drive home the vital role fitness facilities and youth sports play in our kids' health. Especially when you consider the survey showed activity levels were increasing during the 2019 autumn term when schools and fitness facilities were open.

Well, that's it for this week. Let us know how you and your families are staying active during these trying times by commenting on this video. Thanks for joining me and I'll see you next time.

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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.