Health clubs across the country are gearing up to help Americans make 2008 the year of healthy living, says the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). I Lost It at the Club! a fun and collaborative weight loss initiative focused on healthy living will be the first of a number of consumer-focused health initiatives designed to offer the support people need to live healthier lives.


Exercise is the best tonic we have to help keep us healthy, says Joe Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of IHRSA. Its a form of preventive medicine that most of us can practice on our own. In fact, the magic that regular exercise works on our sense of well-being can be immediate. Exercise can make you feel good quickly, and the physical health benefits of exercise continue to build when you stick with it.


While millions of Americans ring in 2008, vowing to take better care of themselves, the health and fitness industry stands ready to offer support so more Americans can achieve their long-term health goals.


Participating IHRSA health clubs will kick off 2008 with I Lost It at the Club! on January 7 an eight-week program to help current and prospective club members fulfill their New Years resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Last year alone, I Lost It at the Club! helped more than 8,690 people lose nearly 13 tons or 28,810 pounds of excess weight.


Clearly, more Americans join a health club as they ring in the New Year than at any other time of year. IHRSA estimates that 65 million Americans will visit a health club in 2008, and one million Americans will join health clubs in the month of January alone. Many of those joining will do so because they recognize the supportive community environment that health clubs provide.


Interestingly, in a recent poll commissioned by IHRSA, Americans universally (99%) agreed that exercise is an important part of preserving good health; yet four out of five said that the current culture makes it hard for people to maintain healthy lifestyles. The fact is that health clubs are the answer for many. Today, many health clubs have programs designed to meet the particular needs of seniors, families and people grappling with challenging health issues, such as diabetes and cancer.


We must stop ignoring the threat that sedentary lifestyles pose to our health, says Moore. Research shows that regular exercise can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes as well as many other chronic diseases. If we are to reverse the growing obesity and diabetes pandemics, we must create living and work environments in our local communities that support regular exercise and healthy living.


Not only does exercise help prevent a significant number of chronic diseases, but it helps keep the rest of your body healthy and strong, Moore continues. Even small amounts of exercise can make a difference. The most important thing is getting started. So get moving today, and exercise for prevention. Thousands of health clubs and professionals across the country are ready and eager to provide the support and encouragement you need.


How to Stay Active

Once exercise becomes habit, you'll wonder why you didnt started sooner. But youll need to stick with it long enough for it to become habit. IHRSA offers these tips to help people stay active throughout the year:


·   Keep it interesting. Choose several activities you like. Health clubs offer a variety of exercise options in a single location.

·   Make sure its convenient. Pick a time and place that works for you. If youre going to work out at a health club, pick one close to work or home.

·   Exercise with a buddy. Friends and family offer motivation and social interaction.

·   Set realistic goals. Dont push yourself beyond whats reasonable for your life.

·   Keep track of your physical activity. You'll see your progress.

·   Reward yourself. When you reach your activity goals, celebrate!


IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a more fit America. For more information, visit For a listing of health clubs with programs for seniors, families and people with special health concerns, contact IHRSA at