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: Physical Activity as Prevention & Rehabilitation [VIDEO]

Is inactivity a key risk factor for severe COVID-19? What do industry insiders predict for the future? IHRSA interim President & CEO Brent Darden discusses these topics and more in this week’s Take 5.

  • April 14, 2021

Findings from a new study are “a wake-up call for the importance of healthy lifestyles and especially physical activity,” said researcher Robert Sallis, M.D., who is a member of the IHRSA Medical, Science, and Health Advisory Council.

The just-released study in The BMJ linked physical inactivity with higher risks of COVID-19 complications, like hospitalization and even death.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent discusses these new findings and shares a guide by Johns Hopkins Medicine that will help restore movement after COVID-19. He also talks about the future of the fitness industry as told by 10 personal trainers.

In addition, Brent shares some interesting new research from McKinsey and Company on the growing popularity of the wellness industry and gives an IHRSA state legislative update.

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

  • 0:42 - Physical Inactivity & Severe COVID Cases
  • 1:40 - Restoring Movement after COVID-19
  • 2:33 - The Future of the Fitness Industry
  • 3:46 - Promising New Research for the Industry
  • 4:47 - Update for U.S. Clubs

Full Transcript

Physical activity can dramatically impact the effects of COVID-19 related to prevention and also recovery. A recent study ties together physical inactivity and higher risk of severe cases of the virus. In addition, Johns Hopkins Medicine released a guide to help COVID-19 patients recover their health and restore their movement. We're also looking at the future of the fitness industry according to 10 top personal trainers, listing some wellness trends, and reviewing the latest issues state policymakers are tackling.

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

Physical Inactivity & Severe COVID Cases

A recent study by Dr. Robert Sallis, a member of IHRSA's Medical Science & Health Advisory Council, and his colleagues found that COVID-19 patients who were physically inactive during the two years before their COVID-19 diagnosis were at higher risk of hospitalization, being admitted to the ICU, and death than those who were consistently active and met exercise guidelines. The study examined over 48,000 adult patients and found that physical inactivity was the strongest factor for severe COVID-19 complications, following only organ transplants, and advanced age. The study recommends prioritizing physical activity by the medical community and public health agencies. I would also add government officials to the list of those needing what I would call a reality check.

Restoring Movement after COVID-19

Many are still dealing with the effects of contracting COVID, including weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath with any type of physical activity. Johns Hopkins Medicine released a guide to help people start the recovery process by restoring movement through exercise, and activities aimed at the entire body. The guide addresses three phases of exercise that they refer to as the “Beginning, Building, and Being” phases. These are simple to complete and address at any level of activity. They include exercises that coordinate movement with balance, building strength and endurance. The ultimate purpose of these exercises is to help restore movement and help people enjoy full health.

The Future of the Fitness Industry

After over a year of social distancing, mask wearing, and all the safety precautions, it can be hard to even remember what normal looked like. The fitness industry has worked hard in the past year to adapt to changing restrictions and fit into everyone's new routine. Marie Claire UK recently asked 10 top personal trainers what they think the future of fitness will look like and if packed gyms really are a thing of the past. While statistics show that some people are reluctant to return to a gym, many of the answers seem to hint that a lot of people miss the fitness studio, and the added challenge to their fitness levels. Not only that, but it seems like trainers agree that a lot of people miss the overall social element of working out in a club or gym. Of course, that matches what some of our own research here at IHRSA has shown as well. And because more people have also realized that they can get a lot and also a great workout in a short amount of time personal trainers predict this will continue, and that gyms will redesign classes to more easily fit into their members' work schedules. And of course they'll also make outdoor classes more accessible.

Promising New Research for the Industry

New research by McKinsey and Company also shows a promising future for the fitness industry. A survey of roughly 7,500 consumers in six different countries shows that interest in wellness is growing. 79% of respondents feel that wellness is important while 42% consider it absolutely a top priority. Two trends that stood out to me from this survey by McKinsey, and they also sync with other trends surveys, were personalization, and a more digital future—no surprise.

Another top trend mentioned by McKinsey is the use of influencers. Fitness companies can use influencers as a potential strategy to target consumer bases. And according to the survey, more than 60% of respondents reported they were more likely to consider a brand or product posted by their favorite influencer.

Update for U.S. Clubs

I've mentioned before that IHRSA sends out alerts about state legislatures making decisions on things that will affect your business, of course, including taxation. Lately, states have been hesitant, actually, to increase taxation since the pandemic, but more than likely, this is just temporary with states addressing the revenue issues next year or even the year after that. However, it's still important to watch out for new taxes that your state lawmakers might be proposing.

Another issue policymakers have been really keeping their eye on are contracts and notification requirements. The reason this topic is currently so active is partially related to the unprecedented shutdowns of clubs, but that also is along with some of the poorly handled contract processes that clubs have had throughout the closures.

Then of course, there's also data privacy, which has been trending for a few years since Europe adopted the GDPR. IHRSA's created legislative tracking sheets to share so that you can keep up with all the bills we're tracking specifically in your individual state. For the record, IHRSA has a sterling success ratio fighting on the industries we have at the state level over the last five years.

Well, that's it for this week's Take 5. As always, thank you for joining me and I'll see you next week.

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Ofelia Martinez

Ofelia Martinez is a contributor to IHRSA.org.