It is no secret that physical and mental health are closely intertwined. Health organizations around the globe—such as the WHO Europe, the CDC, and Australia’s Health Direct—have made clear the positive links between physical activity and mental health. By getting Americans more physically active, we can fight against the mental health crisis as well.
The more than 40,000 health and fitness facilities in America serve as a vital first line of defense in America’s healthcare ecosystem. By providing programming, equipment, and safe spaces to the more than 70 million Americans that frequent health and fitness facilities, people are empowered to take charge of their health and fitness. By committing to physical activity, these individuals are proactively combatting chronic disease and maintaining their mental health.
The U.S. Can't Afford Another 2020
America’s fitness facilities are a vital part of the solution to ensuring the United States never endures another year like 2020. Passage of the GYMS Act would mean America’s health and fitness facilities come out of this crisis strong enough to continue to provide a safe space and programming to improve America’s health.
Fitness facilities nationwide were among the first businesses ordered to close and the last allowed to reopen. Once they were finally allowed to reopen, they operated under some of the most restrictive guidelines for any industry. The resulting economic devastation forced many of these facilities to shut their doors for good and put their employees out of work. One out of every five fitness facilities has closed permanently as of December 31, 2020, and tens of thousands more are at risk.
Health and fitness facilities require and deserve special attention from the federal government to continue to act as the first line of defense for Americans’ mental and physical health. These facilities need the relief provided by the GYMS Act, not only due to the economic hardship that they suffered through no fault of their own, but so they can continue to play a vital role in restoring America’s physical and mental health.