IHRSA Foundation & Fitness Industry Tackle Mental Health Issues

Research shows that exercise improves mental health and well-being. Consumers stand to benefit from new resources for fitness facilities to use when creating initiatives and programs to address mental health issues.

BOSTON, March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The fitness industry is working to normalize mental health and recognize it as another element of overall wellness that needs to be exercised and cared for. With the recently released IHRSA Foundation toolkits, health clubs, gyms, and studios can provide consumers with mental health programming and initiatives that fit their individual needs.

"We’ve had a serious mental health crisis on our hands for a while, and the pandemic has elevated it in an even more concerning way. Our mental health and well-being have plummeted globally and the health and fitness industry has a crucial role to play in reversing this public health crisis," said IHRSA President & CEO Liz Clark. "We encourage everyone to seek help to improve their well-being through movement in a supportive, positive community. With these free resources from the IHRSA Foundation, fitness facilities are able to better assist members and consumers who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and loneliness or who just want to improve their mental wellness."

One in five U.S. adults and one in six European adults suffer from a mental health issue. Current rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health issues have some arguing that the next global pandemic may be poor mental health.

According to a United Nations policy statement, "This historic underinvestment in mental health needs to be redressed without delay to reduce immense suffering among hundreds of millions of people and mitigate long-term social and economic costs to society."

The health and fitness industry can combat mental health issues by providing a safe, supportive place to improve mental health. Physical activity is linked to a number of positive mental health and well-being outcomes—e.g., better mood, happiness, and quality of life.

Along with a list of opportunities for the fitness industry to address mental health and well-being, fitness facilities that possess the IHRSA Foundation resources are equipped with:

  • Current knowledge, attitudes, and awareness among fitness industry professionals about mental health and the benefits of exercise,
  • Evidence on the benefits of exercise for general mental health and well-being and clinical and subclinical mental health conditions, and
  • Examples of fitness industry leaders addressing mental health in their facilities with advice for other operators.

The IHRSA Foundation toolkits were made possible thanks to a generous grant from the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation. For more information and free downloadable resources, visit ihrsafoundation.org.

About IHRSA Foundation

The IHRSA Foundation was established in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a goal to promote health through exercise. Its purpose is to support the charitable and educational functions of IHRSA, the Global Health & Fitness Association.

The IHRSA Foundation focuses on four key areas to support and promote physical activity, wellness, and health promotion: programs, research, education, and engagement. Learn more about the IHRSA Foundation at ihrsafoundation.org.

Media Contact:

Sami Smith
Communications & PR, IHRSA