When coaches and trainers look to help their clients change habits – whether it’s embracing a healthier diet, exercising daily, or incorporating strength training into their lives – the power lies in moving towards a goal. And yet, when we talk about physical inactivity and sedentary behavior, we are often bogged down by the statistics, dire predictions, and danger ahead, including the recent alarming report on hypertension from the WHO, and the continuing failing grade of kids physical activity levels by Participaction.
Fear rarely motivates us: Someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle is not going to be inspired to join a gym because one day they might die of heart disease. If that isn’t working, what might?
Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), the voice of the Canadian fitness industry, took a snapshot of what’s happening globally in preparation for meetings with provincial and federal leaders, to continue pursuing our objectives of having physical activity subsidies for seniors, revising line 33099 to allow gym memberships to be included as a medical expense, and providing incentives towards physical activity.
United Kingdom Physical Literacy Movement
Recently In the United Kingdom, more than 100 people from across the academic, sport and physical activity sectors gathered to reveal the Physical Literacy Consensus Statement for England – the culmination of 18 months of work on the importance of physical literacy and movement for all. Physical literacy is a concept gaining momentum in recent years and is much more than just athleticism; it is about empowering individuals to lead active, fulfilling lives.
Physical literacy is the ability to move with confidence and competence in a variety of physical activities and environments. Just as literacy and numeracy are essential for cognitive development, physical literacy is vital for overall well-being. It involves a combination of fundamental movement skills, knowledge, and attitudes that enable individuals to engage in physical activities throughout their lives.
In an editorial, Liz Terry, editor of Health Club Management Magazine, wrote:
Imagine instead, a general population that’s in love with movement from babyhood, where children are encouraged to exercise and move at school, growing into adults with the skills on board to be able to enjoy physical activity. How much growth would our industry experience then? With this new consensus statement hot off the press, now is the time to develop a global physical literacy strategy that can become a blueprint for every nation.
It must be based on prevention and a proactive approach, so we encourage the development of physical literacy at every stage of life.
United States of America: PHIT Act
This week in Virginia, industry leaders from the healthcare and fitness industries have a stacked agenda at the Fitness Technology Summit, discussing innovations and trends, how the healthcare and health club industry can work together, technological advancements, and how we can impact behavior, change, mental wellness and more.
One of the topics that is at the forefront of the Summit is the Personal Health Investment Act (PHIT) the proposed legislation that would allow Americans to use up to $1000 USD per year (or $2000 per family) on flexible spending accounts to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports leagues. This bill was first introduced in 2018, but the Senate never voted on it. It was reintroduced in March 2023.
In 2020, a South African multinational insurance group conducted the RAND study – a major analytical sample that involved 238,422 participants in the United Kingdom, 17,648 in the United Stages, and 166,573 in South Africa. The study group participants were incentivized towards physical activity using a Vitality Active Rewards point system. The findings of the study suggested that incentivizing physical activity can lead to better activity levels and more pronounced behavior change.
The Newfoundland Physical Activity Tax Incentive
As FIC continues to lobby provincial leaders for physical activity tax credits (across all provinces), and for the federal government to revise line 33099, allowing gym memberships to be included as a medical expense, there is a shining beacon of hope here at home: In 2021, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced a Physical Activity Tax Credit .
Premier Andrew Furey, had this to say in his announcement of the $2000 per family tax credit: “Staying active is vital to both our physical and mental health. Soccer fields, gyms, pools, dance studios, martial arts dojos, and so many other places where we have fun and stay active are vital in helping us manage the everyday stresses of life. Our investments in sport and recreation provide opportunities for people of all ages to be active and support individuals to live productive and rewarding lives.”
In a 2021 survey of nearly 2000 Canadians, FIC found that 59% of Canadians would join a gym if there was a financial incentive.
To add your voice to the Canadian lobbying actions, join the FIC today.
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.