Industry Trends

So, What Is IHRSA?


With the number of people holding gym memberships at all time highs, one would think that people are more healthy and active than ever before, right?


In fact, over $200 billion dollars is spent every year to treat the cost of illnesses related to physical inactivity in the United States, United Kingdom, India and China. On a global scale, physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death, contributing to more than 3 million deaths annually.

While the world struggles to address the widespread lack of physical well-being, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has worked for decades to establish itself as the leader in helping the world overcome physical inactivity. They have played a major role in positioning the health club industry as the primary solution to the physical inactivity crisis by focusing on all of the components related to the issue, from medicine and nutrition to the social and emotional aspects of exercise.

Since its founding in 1981, IHRSA has grown from a small not-for-profit trade association to serve over 10,000 health clubs, suppliers, developers and educational institutions in almost 80 countries. The organization partners with some of the biggest players in the industry to promote health and physical activity, advocate the interests of the industry in Washington, D.C. and hosts some of the best attended events in the industry.

Health and Activity Promotion

In 2014, IHRSA launched the #WhyGetActive movement in one of their many efforts to get more people moving. The initiative began on social media to help give the movement a worldwide platform. Participants shared their reasons for being physically active online with the goal of creating a community where physically active lifestyles are supported and even encouraged, especially as more people lead sedentary lives than ever.

In 2011, IHRSA partnered with the White House and American Council on Exercise to start Joining Forces, which exists to provide military families with free health club memberships. By helping give out 100,000 free memberships for the families of reservists around the country IHRSA not only helped improve the quality of life for countless families, but also proved that their mission isn’t something they take lightly.


In addition to their Washington, D.C. lobbying efforts to ensure liability protection for clubs, consumer protection and fair employment regulations, IHRSA is also involved in advocacy on the corporate side as well. In 2012, IHRSA introduced the CEO Pledge, which is a partnership with the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) that encourages member CEO’s to commit to providing a workplace that promotes health and wellness through physical activity. Through partnerships with local business organizations, IHRSA has gotten 400 CEO’s to commit to their pledge.

Annual Events

In its 35th year, IHRSA has built connections in the health industry around all corners of the globe. Though the annual United States show is its longest standing event, over the last two decades IHRSA has expanded its imprint to include South America, East Asia, Europe and Mexico. Look forward to the following great IHRSA shows this year:

  • 17th Annual IHRSA/Fitness Brasil Latin American Conference & Trade Show- September 1-3, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brasil
  • 16th Annual IHRSA European Congress- October 17-20, 2016 in Seville, Spain
  • 3rd Annual IHRSA/ Mercado Fitness Mexico City Conference & Trade Show- October 26-27, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico
  • 6th Annual ChinaFit/ IHRSA China Management Forum- November 15-18, 2016 in Changsha, China

For more information about IHRSA visit their website.

Be up to date on the biggest trends in fitness before you head to IHRSA. Check out out 10 Tech Trends in 2016 guide.


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