In a landmark global report on the impact of the health and fitness sector, the Health and Fitness Industry was proven to have a “profound” economic and social impact on countries all around the world and showed “inactivity is costly, and exercise means big savings.” In Canada, a per capita investment of $2000 in activity would deliver a return on investment within only one year.
“We have known that the fitness industry is essential, and now we have substantial data to prove it,” said Sara Hodson, President of Fitness Industry Council of Canada. “You can’t look at these numbers without implementing significant policy changes to address how to improve access to fitness for all Canadians. We don’t need policy changes next year, or in some far off provincial or federal budget: We need action now.”
The findings, presented June 23rd in Miami at the IHRSA global conference, published The Economic Health and Societal Well-Being: Quantifying The Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector, which analysed the economic and social benefits of the health and fitness industry in 46 countries.
Key Highlights include:
- In 2021, the Canadian Fitness Industry had a direct value added of US$1.7 billion and supported an indirect value added of $1.4 billion to GDP;
- The Canadian Fitness Industry directly supports 83.2 thousand jobs and indirectly supports 20.8 thousand jobs;
- Inactivity costs the Canadian healthcare system $3.9 billion dollars – of which $2.7 billion is borne by public health systems;
- Productivity loss, due to lack of sufficient physical activity, was valued at $7.9 billion dollars annually;
- Each insufficiently active worker costs the Canadian economy approximately $2068 in healthcare costs and lost productivity;
- An investment of $2000 in helping an inactive person become active results in a payback period of less than one year, on average, in terms of benefit to the overall economy and society.
The report also concluded “there is a wealth of evidence that suggests fitness centres and gyms increase the quantity and quality of exercise people do… Facilitating access to gyms and other fitness centres increases exercise rates.” (IHRSA, 2022, p. 12)
Fitness Industry Council of Canada has been lobbying provincial and federal governments to take action and provide a tax credit for fitness. The Provincial Government of Newfoundland introduced a Physical Activity Tax Credit in the 2021 budget, allowing households to claim up to $2000 physical activity expenses, including fitness fees, with a target of becoming the healthiest province in Canada by 2031.
However, Hodson wants action taken in every province, and ideally at the federal level. “We’re counting on other provinces to follow Newfoundland’s lead and make decisions based on historical evidence and what has been laid out in this landmark global study: An investment in physical activity works in improving the physical and mental health of Canadians, reducing rates of chronic illness, and improving productivity and our bottom line – our GDP. It is time for Canada to become global leaders in physical activity.”
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.