The IHRSA Foundation and the fitness industry tackle mental health issues


Research shows that exercise improves mental health and well-being. Consumers will 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 part of overall well-being that needs to be exercised and nurtured. With the recently released IHRSA Foundation toolkits, health clubs, gyms and studios can offer consumers mental health programs and initiatives that meet their individual needs.

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

One out of five American adults and one in six European adults suffer from a mental health problem. Current rates of stress, anxiety, depression and other behavioral health issues suggest that the next global pandemic could be poor mental health.

According to a United Nations Policy Statement“This historic underinvestment in mental health must be corrected without delay to reduce the immense suffering of hundreds of millions of people and mitigate the long-term social and economic costs to society.”

The health and fitness industry can combat mental health issues by providing a safe and supportive place to improve mental health. Physical activity is linked to several positive mental health and wellness results— for example, better mood, happiness and quality of life.

In addition to a list of opportunities for the fitness industry to address mental health and wellness, fitness facilities that have the resources of the IHRSA Foundation are equipped with:

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

The IHRSA Foundation Toolkits were made possible by a generous grant from the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation. For more information and free downloadable resources, visit

About the IHRSA Foundation

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

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

Media Contact:

Sami Smith
Communications and Public Relations, IHRSA
[email protected]



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