Sara Hodson, CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, has been elected to lead the national trade association, representing more than 6000 fitness facilities across Canada.
In a bold statement on the importance of exercise for physical and mental health, Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) voted medical exercise expert Sara Hodson, CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, as the incoming president at the national AGM.
“It is an honor and privilege to be able to work to improve the lives of Canadians,” says Hodson. “We know that exercise is medicine and prevents and manages almost all chronic health conditions – from diabetes to heart disease, obesity, blood pressure, depression and many forms of cancer. We know that exercise is equally effective as antidepressant medication to treat depression, stress and anxiety – something that has afflicted us all in the last 18 months. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is important work. It is life-saving work.”
More than 80 percent of Canadians currently do not receive the recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly. The World Health Organization and the United Nations have both asked governments to prioritize physical activity as part of national health care policies
Scott Wildeman, the outgoing president, cast his vote for Hodson early on. “I have huge admiration for what Sara has done for the fitness industry, and where she will lead us. Having worked closely with Sara for the last year, her leadership in British Columbia set the tone for how she will serve as a President. Sara has the proven expertise to take our fitness association to new heights.”
Hodson is the federal lead in a lobbying campaign to make gym memberships tax deductible in the next election; the motion was not put in the spring budget, and FIC intends on making this a political issue leading into the recently-called September 20th election. As co-chair of the FIC coalition for British Columbia, Hodson has been instrumental in helping keep fitness facilities open across the province – at one stage in the pandemic, BC was the only province in Canada to have fitness facilities open.
Hodson successfully navigated her own business challenges with her fitness concept LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic – supervised exercise clinics for people with health concerns, by helping her franchises pivot from in-person exercise sessions to live-streaming sessions within five days of the pandemic beginning in March 2020. She then boldly and empathetically led her brand through repeated lockdowns, strategic reopening plans, and creative member engagement online events.
Her immediate actions as FIC president are to push all political parties to include gym memberships as a tax deductible expense in their election platforms. “We have considerable data we will be sharing in the coming weeks. Exercise has to be part of the public health debate, and we know Canadians will be motivated to exercise in a gym again if there is financial support. Canada could become a global leader being the first country in the world to place exercise as part of a national health agenda. We must seize this moment now and create fundamental change.”
“People need community more than ever, we need support and accountability,” says Hodson. “More than that, we need qualified exercise professionals to lead us out of the dark times of the pandemic. Exercise will be the foundation of our recovery as a nation from the pandemic. The fitness industry is ready to serve Canadians, to help them regain their health and experience all the benefits of an active lifestyle.”
Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.
Le conseil canadien de l’industrie du conditionnement physique (CCICP) est une association professionnelle sans but lucratif qui se veut la voix des exploitants de centres de conditionnement physique au Canada.