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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: New Data on Exercise Habits [VIDEO]

IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses the congressional physical activity challenge, new data on exercise habits during the pandemic, and if being fully vaccinated means we can go back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

The COVID-19 vaccine has brought us all some peace of mind after a year of uncertainty, but does that mean we get to finally go back to our pre-pandemic lives?

In this week’s Take 5, Brent shares expert advice from two doctors and their take on whether vaccinated people should go about their normal lives or continue to adhere to safety protocols.

We also have new data from Gympass on exercise habits during the pandemic, and provide some information on the Congressional Physical Activity Challenge launched by Myzone and the Physical Activity Alliance.

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

  • 0:32​ - PAA and Myzone Congressional Physical Activity Challenge
  • 1:38​ - CBI’s Exclusive Interview with Rob Barker, CEO of Precor
  • 2:24​ - What 1 Year of COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Stress and Adaptability
  • 3:47​ - COVID-19 Vaccine and the Return to “Normal”
  • 5:18​ - Insurance Specialists Still Consider the Fitness Industry a Good Investment

Full Transcript

As more people become eligible for their COVID vaccines, the fitness industry continues to promote a healthy lifestyle long term. In this week's Take 5, we talk about the challenge issued to Congress to promote physical activity and healthy living, how exercise habits have changed during the pandemic, and answer the question that everyone's asking lately: does the vaccine mean we can go back to the way things were?

Thanks for joining me for another IHRSA Take 5 sponsored by Precor.

PAA and Myzone Congressional Physical Activity Challenge

Myzone and the Physical Activity Alliance launched the Congressional Physical Activity Challenge just last week, and it will run through May the 26th to coincide with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The challenge is open to all members of Congress, to their DC Congressional staff members, and their interns. All participants in the challenge are given an MZ-Switch heart rate monitor, which by the way is really cool, so they can track if they're getting their weekly dose of 150 minutes of activity. Winners will be awarded based not only on individual achievement, but also on office achievement, and most office staff participants who are able to reach the physical activity goal.

Physical activity has never been more important and having congressional support, as well as legislation, such as the GYMS Act and PHIT, proves the positive changes can help more Americans become physically active and protect them from diseases as well as reduce health disparities.

CBI’s Exclusive Interview with Rob Barker, CEO of Precor

In May's edition of CBI, you'll find an exclusive interview with Rob Barker, CEO of Precor, on Peloton’s acquisition of Precor and what it may mean for your health club and the future of the fitness industry overall. He also discusses why club operators should not see this deal as a threat to their business model, and why suppliers feel like consumers really have the ultimate power when it comes to products and content.

Make sure to check out the entire interview when CBI hits your mailbox or you can take a look at the digital edition at IHRSA.org.

What 1 Year of COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Stress and Adaptability

One of the few good things to come out of this pandemic has been the fact that more people are taking their health seriously. Even when governments forced gyms to close, many did whatever they could to get their daily exercise including biking, hiking, and walking. A recent report by Gympass features data from nine different countries around the world that show an increase in physical activity in both previously active as well as sedentary users.

The data shows that people were motivated to take charge of their mental health, specifically. Telehealth, virtual therapy, and text therapy have all grown in the last year. And according to Gympass, 35% of its check ins came from users accessing its mental health partners. Again, that's 35% of check ins were related to mental health issues. In addition to this, by the end of 2020, the mindfulness app, Calm, saw active users increase by 115%. I've even heard a few of our own IHRSA staff members talk about using the app. And all of us know physical and mental health go hand in hand, so if you'd like more on how exercise can impact mental health, check out the resources over on IHRSA.org.

COVID-19 Vaccine and the Return to “Normal”

As vaccines become available to more people, many are wondering if it's finally okay to take off the mask, to gather in large groups, or go back to the normal pre-pandemic life. But when it comes to gyms—or running any business—many owners are wondering if they should continue to enforce certain safety protocols or even if they should require employees and perhaps even members to be vaccinated.

Well, what we can share is that many health clubs have decided to continue requiring the usage of masks and enforce social distancing across the country to make sure that members and staff are and also feel safe. In addition, many clubs have taken an approach to gradually lessen or decrease safety protocols and increase occupancy over time.

That said, in a recent episode of Consider This from NPR, Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Monica Gandhi shared their expert advice on what to do after getting your vaccine. We'll include a link to this in the video description, but two things stood out to us. The first is that both Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Wen agree that until we get to a point where cases are significantly lower, even those vaccinated should continue to social distance and wear a mask when possible. However, they also mentioned letting those who are fully vaccinated go on about their normal lives, including returning to gyms.

Insurance Specialists Still Consider Fitness Industry a Good Investment

Even though many of us got into this industry to help people live healthier and happier lives, we still have businesses to run. So it's always great to hear when companies and organizations outside of fitness talk about our industry as a good investment. The latest of these are the insurance specialists over at PolicyAdvice. In fact, in a recent article, they shared over 19 statistics about the fitness industry, and concluded that people all across the world are keener on exercising now more than ever, and they believe the fitness industry has numerous development opportunities throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

It can be really easy to get trapped looking at all the hardships over the last year and all the bad news, so I want to leave you with this little bit of positivity today.

Well, that's it for this week's Take 5. As always, thank you for joining me, and please let us know what the last year has taught you in the comments of this video. We'll see you next week.

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Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez is a contributor to IHRSA.org.