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: Fitness Industry Shows Resilience [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden gives updates on IHRSA’s efforts to bring the industry together, discusses studies showing the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, and more.

  • March 03, 2021

“It is now time to open Texas 100%,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 2, about a year after the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the U.S.

While there is no straightforward answer whether it is time to completely reopen—businesses and counties can still implement restrictions and mask-wearing requirements—what’s clear is it’s time to focus on the health and well-being of the populace the fitness industry serves.

In this week’s Take 5, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden urges industry leaders to join us for the United We Rise: Stronger than Ever action event. He also shares insights on a report out of China that underlines the industry’s resilience, gives a GYMS Act update, and more.

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

  • 0:23 - “United We Rise — Stronger Than Ever” Event
  • 1:06 - 2019-2020 China Health and Fitness Market White Paper
  • 2:10 - GYMS Act: An Important Update
  • 3:16 - Kaiser Family Foundation Study

Full Transcript

As U.S. clubs fight for financial relief, data from China may help keep us all in better spirits. Also some good updates on the GYMS Act and the results of a study on COVID's impact on mental health and substance abuse. It's time for another IHRSA Take 5, sponsored by Precor.

“United We Rise — Stronger Than Ever” Event

First, let me start with a reminder to register for the industry-wide action event "United We Rise — Stronger Than Ever," taking place tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST. Allied partners from across the industry such as ACSM, ACE, IDEA, ISPA, SFIA, SCW, MFA, and many others, including suppliers and club leaders, are coming together to discuss advocacy and topics of interest to everyone in the health and fitness space. This may very well represent the first time that so many top organizations have united for the good of the broad industry. So I hope to see all of you there.

2019-2020 China Health and Fitness Market White Paper

In a recent Take 5, I shared some information from the 2019-2020 China Health and Fitness Market study done by Deloitte. Since then, I've also spoken with several of the largest club operators in China as well. And a few things that stood out to me have to do with the overall resilience of the industry. Specifically, as bad as it was with over 30% of China clubs closing, the rebound has really been spectacular in China. Deloitte confirmed that revenues have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels, that there was pent up demand and an almost a sort of New Year's resolution rush following lifting of the restrictions as people wanted to come back to the gym, and that there is a heightened awareness generally around the benefits of being physically active among the general population, and also the government of China. This is all great news for those of us around the world trailing their recovery from the pandemic.

GYMS Act: An Important Update

Our hard work is paying off: The GYMS Act now has 44 bipartisan sponsors and more on the way in process. Please keep sharing our one-click campaigns with your employees and your members and friends. These campaigns are easy to participate in, literally requiring less than 5 minutes to participate. But it does require a high volume of these emails to really have an impact. Many of you may remember the Save Our Stages campaign to help get relief for the live venues. They created the over 2.1 million messages sent as to why they actually received the relief they were seeking. We don't have to hit that high of a number, but it shows the importance of keeping the pressure on. Right now, Americans have sent a little over 8.5 thousand emails and nearly half have come from people outside the industry, which shows that your members are there to help as are our friends, family anyone we can get to send a message to Congress. The wider we share these campaigns, the better.

Kaiser Family Foundation Study

A few more unfortunate statistics I want to share with all of you involve the implications this pandemic has had on mental health and substance abuse. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation study, during the pandemic about 4 in 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. 4 in 10. And when compared to all adults, young adults are more likely to report substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Let me repeat that. Approximately one-fourth of young adults are reporting substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Those are some very telling statistics.

A separate health tracking poll from July 2020 also found that many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being such as difficulty sleeping or eating, increases in alcohol consumption or substance abuse, and worsening of chronic conditions due to the worry and stress associated with the coronavirus and all that it entails and how it impacts our lives. These of course, are all things that exercise can help manage. The Lancet Psychiatry magazine reports that active people are 45% less likely to have depressive symptoms than inactive people. Please take care of yourself first and then think about developing programs in your clubs for mental health fitness programming in the future.

Well that's it for this week. I hope to see you all at the United We Rise event, and also at Club Industry's Future of Fitness event scheduled March 9 through 10. Registration for both of these events is free. Thanks for joining me and I'll see you next time.

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Author avatar

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.