I had the pleasure to guest host ‘Thinking Ahead’ on The Fitness Business Podcast  last month.  This spin off from the weekly shows is designed to have the fitness industry thinking ahead in regard to the people, the product and the industry.  And the interview with Dr Bob Sallis certainly left me thinking about the real future of the fitness industry.

Who Is Bob Sallis?

In 2008, as a press conference Dr Bob Sallis was the first person to use the phrase ‘exercise is medicine.’  He is a family physician practicing at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, California, where he serves as Co-Director of their Sports Medicine Fellowship program. He is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) School of Medicine. He is a Past-President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and currently chairs Exercise is Medicine™, a joint initiative of ACSM and the American Medical Association. He also chaired the Healthcare Sector of the U.S. Physical Activity Plan and is the physician spokesperson for the “Every Body Walk!” campaign.

What Did We Talk About?

Many governments across the globe during 2020, allowed people to exercise for reasons additional to the ones Bob listed in back in 2008 and focussing on mental health.  At that October 2008 press conference Bob asked US physicians to include an exercise prescription in all their treatment plans.  In fact he went on to describe exercise as a wonder drug.

For over 12 years he has preached the mantra exercise is medicine, so I wanted to see where he considered the industry to be and how inviting he saw the industry as a place allied health professionals would refer patients.

Here are my questions . . .

Question 1      Did exercise as medicine take off between 2008 and 2020?  What were the strengths and weakness of the campaign during those years?

Question 2      What did you think when you started to see “exercise is medicine” popping up in 2020 as we fought the impact of COVID on personal health?

Question 3      What does the fitness industry need to do to become a or the viable option for exercising for medical purposes?

Question 4      There is international debate raging about regulating qualifications and even facilities to show various stakeholders – in particular the medical fraternity – that gyms are safe for people to exercise and even show governments we are essential to the mental health of people.  What are your thoughts on this journey for the fitness industry in 2021 and beyond?

Question 5      Your 2008 press conference was out of the box thinking back then, I would love you to imagine right now you have the world’s media standing in front of you where you are announcing that exercising in a fitness facility is recommended.  What key points would you hammer home to sell this option?

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