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According to a recent Planet Fitness study, following are four misconceptions keeping 80 percent of Americans out of fitness:
No. 1: Time
The average American believes you need to work out for 95 minutes in a session to be beneficial. Non-gym members think it requires at least two full hours.
No. 2: Competition
Competition is the latest fad in fitness and 68 percent of non-gym members are demotivated by leaderboards and competition in fitness.
No. 3: Fitspiration
Well-intended phrases like “no pain, no gain” are all over social media and 53 percent of Americans are intimidated by these sayings.
No. 4: Frequency
Nearly half (45 percent) of Americans believe you have to work out five or more times per week as part of a normal workout regimen.
So, how can our association events make health and wellness more approachable and accessible for our learners, members and staffs? Following are just four ideas to get the juices flowing (and maybe even the sweat beads forming!).
No. 1: Movement
New government fitness guidelines say as little as 10 minutes of activity per day can show health benefits, improve cognitive function and relieve anxiety. So consider how you might incorporate movement into the meeting schedule. Setting up the meal function, exhibit hall or networking break a short distance away from the general sessions (even outside) could create enough of an excuse for attendees to increase their step account and to get their hearts pumping. For those who want a more intense workout, allow for intentional downtime in the schedule, identify fitness leads and post signup sheets.
No. 2: Personas
Via survey, focus group or other mechanism, really get to know your members and their current eating and workout habits (not what they want to achieve, but examples of current practice). Build fitness personas around the major trends you identify. Be open to a range of personas spanning from light activity to fitness enthusiast. Partner with key stakeholders to create menus, offer fitness classes and engage in wellness experiences at your event that align with attendee expectations. Allow participants the opportunity to both maintain their current lifestyles at your event and to experiment with new options – in a safe and welcoming environment – for which they have less experience.
No. 3: Testimonials
Want to inspire your learners, members and staff? The key likely lies not in inspirational quotes, but rather in testimonials from those serving your industry. Identify individuals who have implemented changes (both small and large) in an effort to form new, healthier habits around health and wellness. Through interviews, videos, education sessions, meet-ups and other association-specific communication, event and publication platforms, share their stories and key takeaways. Highlight factors that motivated the change, the change itself, outcomes (both physical and mental) and lessons learned. Connect these changemakers with attendees interested in making changes as mentors and accountability buddies.
No. 4: Goalsetting
According to the American Council on Exercise, a good maintenance plan includes 150 workout minutes per week (i.e., 30 minutes, five days a week). To increase fitness levels, more than the minimum 150 minutes is required. To this end, identify those in your association’s community who are health and wellness professionals (e.g., nutritionists, personal trainers) and create goalsetting/coaching opportunities at your event (either one-on-one or in small groups) relative to food, exercise, self-care and the like. Registration areas, exhibit booths, wellness lounges and pop-up experiences at networking breaks are all great places to launch such an initiative.
Our HBA #GoalGetters have been sounding off on these statistics in our Healthy by Association Facebook group. Join us there to see what they’ve been saying and to continue this discussion with your insights and suggestions.