Post by IHRSA
Last month, we noted in this space that only 1 in 5 Americans self-reported enough physical activity to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines. And given the optimistic leanings of most self-reporting, we might assume the number is much lower. Even our kids, who seem born wired to run and play, are predominantly sedentary.
So, is this it for Americans? Have we permanently engineered physical activity out of our culture? Will we simply continue our long journey toward inertia?
I don’t believe so.
I believe the ship is starting to turn around.
In March 2014, the fitness industry will convene for its largest annual American gathering at IHRSA’s 33rd Annual International Convention & Trade Show in San Diego, CA. It is an industry town hall of sorts, where innovation and ideas mix for three frenetic days and then spread to all corners of the globe. What happens at IHRSA, most certainly does not stay at IHRSA.
The convention agenda naturally reflects the fitness trends and promising new approaches to increasing physical activity.
In many ways, it’s like looking into a crystal ball for what’s next.
I’m always particularly interested in the convention sessions that focus on how to use health club facilities to reach the 80% of the population who aren’t exercising regularly.
Here are 5 sessions generating buzz that make me believe we will be more active in the future:
1) Fitness as a Part of the Healthcare System? A Big, Even Inevitable, Idea for Our Industry & World
2) Exercise As Medicine
3) Active Aging: Trends and Opportunities
4) Youth Group Fitness: A Duty and Opportunity for the Fitness Industry
5) Get and Keep More Members Through Digital Marketing & Disruptive Technologies
Those are some of the agenda setting topics that will frame the industry’s future.
They will be asking critical questions.
How do we become a more integral part of the health care system? How do we build bridges to the medical community? What are the needs and interests of seniors? How do we get kids moving in an era dominated by screen time? And what do we make of the incredible technological advances of the past 5 years that have suddenly created markets for wearable technology and tracking devices?
Of course, I recognize that the societal slide toward inactivity is steep and moving fast, and that a convention in San Diego won’t stop the decline. But as long as the fitness industry continues to fight for the future and ask the tough questions, I will believe that more active days are ahead. After all, we seem born wired to run and play.