The members of the California Fitness Alliance (CFA) launched a campaign to raise awareness about the mental and physical challenges facing many Californians. The campaigned launched in the month of May because it is Mental Health Awareness month.
“The pandemic prevented our communities from accessing a safe place to continue working out and that has detrimentally affected their physical and mental health,” said Francesca Schuler, a CFA advisory board member and CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs in a statement. “Some of our members have broken down in tears of joy after returning to their club — happy to be back physically but also emotionally. The gym is more than a place for physical exercise. It’s a place to reset your mind, destress, find community and relax — the lack of access to these facilities for most people in California has severely impacted them. The good news is, we are finally reopening, and our members are comfortable coming back due to the strict safety protocols and the fact that data and research have proven fitness centers are safe. It has been exciting to see so many happy members coming back to our CFA partner clubs and refocusing on their health.”
Throughout May, the CFA will share tips and articles from their member organizations and partners that represent it on their website and in social media. Some of these tips will focus on:
- Self-Awareness – Practice self-awareness to live a more mindful life.
- Setting Routines – How a 5-minute mindful morning routine improves mental health.
- Happiness – Our favorite mood-boosting workouts can lead to greater happiness.
- Stress – What is chronic stress and how to know if you have it.
- Sleep – How strength training helps improve your sleep.
The CFA continues to seek to partner with the State of California to encourage people to get moving for their mental and physical health and to allow all Californians access to indoor exercise, especially as recent studies show Americans’ anxiety and depression symptoms escalated in 2020 from the same period the previous year. In its Household Health Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports:
- Approximately 30.7% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety disorder, up from 8.1% in 2019.
- Roughly 25.1% of participants reported symptoms of depressive disorder, up from 6.5% in 2019.
- About 35.6% of partakers reported anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder symptoms, up from 10.9%.
Data and Science show that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression as demonstrated in the 2020 study published in “BMC Medicine.”
“We are disappointed the California Department of Public Health has not demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with the fitness industry to get Californians moving for their mental and physical health throughout the pandemic,” said Randy Karr, a CFA advisory board member and CEO and President of California Family Fitness in a statement. “This is particularly disappointing as a recent Kaiser study demonstrated that regular physical activity provided strong protection from hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death from COVID-19.”
The California Fitness Alliance filed a lawsuit against California this past September, arguing the government’s decision to restrict access to indoor fitness is not supported by science or data. California’s prohibitions on indoor fitness are more restrictive than those for nearly all other business sectors in the state and are among the most restrictive in the nation. Their case goes to trial in June.