Only a month away from IHRSA's first GetActive America! campaign intended to encourage the public to visit a local health club, managers at more than 1,500 facilities smattered around the country have signed up their clubs to offer free visits to non-members May 17-23.
"The clubs' reactions to GetActive America! have been enthusiastic," Bill Howland, IHRSA's director of public relations and research, told SNEWSÂ®. "We have heard from members from all over the country who are planning events -- some events will involve local government and their local Chambers of Commerce, and in some markets competing clubs are even coordinating their efforts."
The non-profit IHRSA club association and its clubs signed on have said they hope the campaign will not only introduce themselves, but also fitness, to prospective members.
According to IHRSA, clubs in all major metro areas are involved although the group hadn't tallied yet how many states were participating as of this week. When SNEWSÂ® checked for locations in areas from Knoxville, Tenn., and San Francisco to Boulder, Colo., and Denver and into the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, one or more locations came up. In some smaller towns -- even those with numerous clubs -- no locations were available as of earlier this week.
GetActive America! has two components: First, from May 17-20, club members can bring guests with them for a free visit. Then, from May 21-23, each participating club will offer an open house weekend inviting anyone for a complimentary visit and workout. Each club is responsible for its own area promotions, although some national promotion has been done by IHRSA, targeting in particular print and broadcast media in the top 12 U.S. media markets. SNEWSÂ® spied, for example, a short story in a recent Reader's Digest. Any IHRSA club can join free, and the group supplies facilities with a manual on how to promote the event locally.
"We're encouraging our members to take this health promotion message to their communities, and we're confident they will run with this in a way that makes the most sense locally," said Howland. "We want them to look at this on a long-term basis to get involved with local community organizations and to establish themselves as good corporate citizens."
Sponsors include: premier sponsors, Cybex, Life Fitness, Matrix, Technogym; sustaining sponsors, Nautilus, Star Trac; contributing sponsors, Free Motion Fitness, Iron Grip, Precor, True; supporting organizations, ACE and the American Cancer Society; and premier consumer sponsor, California Strawberry Commission (strawberries on open house weekend? We're there!).
Consumers can search for participating clubs at www.getactiveamerica.net. Clubs and manufacturers can get more information by contacting Brooke Basile at IHRSA, 800-228-4772, ext. 173.
"We're hoping to touch as many Americans as possible with the benefits of being active," said Howland. "This is a great opportunity for people to see who is actually working out in clubs and all they have to offer."
SNEWSÂ® View: Whether someone eventually joins a club or not, we think this is a fine outreach to the community. We also hope clubs and suppliers involved really use this opportunity to reach out to the community, its government, parks and organizations. That could help make this an ongoing community effort rather than a once-a-year workout event.