What’s Keeping Folks From Hitting The Health Club
Americans (91 percent) believe exercising at a health club would
improve their overall health, only 18 percent of those surveyed
actually belong to a health club, according to the results of a survey.
explored the behavioral barriers that prevent Americans from exercising
at a health club. The survey, sponsored by The International Health,
Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) was conducted among a
representative sample of the online U.S. population.
and financial consequences of sedentary lifestyles are startling, the
IHRSA said. From 1987 to 2000, the direct medical costs associated with
physical inactivity more than doubled — from $29 billion to
nearly $76.6 billion. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), two-thirds of American adults do not engage in
regular leisure-time physical activity.
don’t more Americans join? What’s stopping them? What needs
to change so more people can make physical activity a routine part of
their daily lives?" was a question posed by John McCarthy, association
executive director. "Understanding why most Americans don’t
exercise is the first step in helping most Americans to exercise. We
must understand the barriers to increased physical activity and act now
to counter the health crisis our country is facing. Somehow, we must
make the cultural shift from a sedentary to a more physically active
not surprising that lack of time in today’s fast-paced world is a
leading issue of concern among survey respondents. As many as 42
percent of respondents say that exercising at a health club at least
twice per week for 30 minutes for the next month would interfere with
their other priorities, compared to only 34 percent who say it would
interest, though, is the finding that nearly half of married Americans
say their spouse or partner does not think they should exercise at a
health club at least twice per week for 30 minutes for the next month
— whereas only 34 percent say their spouse or partner think they
should. The same for those respondents with children: A full 50 percent
say their children do notthink they should exercise at a health club at
least twice per week for 30 minutes for the next month — whereas
only 19 percent say their children think they should.
unexpected is the finding that fewer than half of Americans —
only 40 percent — say their doctor thinks they should exercise at
a health club at least twice per week for 30 minutes for the next
extremely surprising that although regular physical activity is such a
fundamentally important component of good health, so many people
don’t understand that their doctors want them to
exercise—and only a minority of Americans feel they have their
family’s support in establishing healthy lifestyles," says
"If we are to
help more people build exercise into their daily lives, we must provide
the social support and positive reinforcement that Americans need to
change their lifestyle behaviors," McCarthy said. "That’s why
IHRSA is leading efforts to increase public awareness of the health and
‘feel good’ benefits that exercise brings through a number
of consumer health initiatives."
As part of an
annual Get Active America! program started three years ago, a wide
variety of health clubs nationwide offer health-focused programs in the
month of May and open their doors for free for several days. The goal
is to make it easier for Americans to exercise and to help them build
regular exercise into their daily routines.
I Lost It at
the Club!, a fitness industry weight loss initiative coordinated by
IHRSA and established in 2005, engages current and future club members
each January in a fun, collaborative effort to lose weight, while
helping them focus on living longer, healthier, more productive lives.
The IHRSA is
a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness
facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers.
For more information on The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, visit www.IHRSA.org.