Thousands of Local Gyms Urge Congress to Include Direct Support for Fitness Industry in Any Post-Election Relief Package

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), a group representing more than 15,000 community gyms in the US, today urged Congress to include direct support for the fitness industry in any post-election relief legislation, in order to help gyms survive the financial impact of mandatory closures and operating restrictions from the COVD-19 pandemic. Leaders in the fitness industry rallying behind the relief effort include CrossFit, Mindbody, Orangetheory Fitness, Self Esteem Brands, Xponential Fitness, and Zumba Fitness. 

“Community gyms keep America healthy, but they are struggling to survive due to local closures and operating restrictions, which have been among the most stringent for any industry,” said Jordan Holland, owner of Riot Athletics CrossFit in Seattle, Washington. “Many gyms have been forced to close for six months or longer or operate with a fraction of the customers they need to break even. Debt continues to climb, and cash reserves are long gone. Without direct support, thousands of gyms will close their doors, never to reopen, and tens of millions of Americans will face the long-term health consequences, as our current health crisis leads to a new surge in obesity, depression, and chronic disease. We urge Congress to pass legislation with direct support to help thousands of small to midsize community gyms survive.”

A recent analysis by fitness industry association IHRSA found that up to one-quarter of all fitness facilities, or 10,000 gyms, could close by the end of 2020, absent federal relief. According to data released by Yelp, the nation’s gyms and fitness facilities currently face higher closure rates than nearly any other industry, including restaurants and bars. As of August 31, Yelp data showed 6,024 closed fitness facilities, with 57 percent temporary closures and 43 percent permanent closures. 

“This is an important opportunity to join my colleagues in the fitness industry to bring our voices together to support small business owners across the country who need help,” said Andy Gundlach, owner of several Anytime Fitness and Basecamp Fitness locations across Wisconsin. “Fitness and helping people find ways to be healthy and well is important during the pandemic. The relief we need will help restore our industry to continue to make sure people have access to our clubs at such an important time for our country.”

Based on the number of US fitness facilities, the Yelp data implies a gym closure rate nearly five times the restaurant industry and one-third higher than the bar/nightclub industry, using comparative data around industry sizes. Like restaurants, gyms have been unable to fully participate in other federal relief programs due to limitations on the use of funds for standard costs incurred by small and mid-sized gyms. To address those issues, the House passed $120 billion in similar industry-specific support for restaurants as part of the updated HEROES Act. 

“The fitness industry plays a critical role in improving the physical and mental health of millions of Americans, said Adam Krell, OrangeTheory Fitness franchisee in New

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Doctors urge UAE residents to participate in Dubai 30×30 fitness challenge

Dubai Fitness Challenge DFC Yoga
Doctors say that it normally takes 21 days to form a habit, after the 30-day challenge, you have high chances of continuing your fitness regime.
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Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is calling upon on all Dubai residents to tie up their shoelaces and step up to take up the monthlong 30×30 Dubai fitness challenge which kicked off on October 30.

On its part DHA has launched several sports initiatives such as football, basketball and volleyball challenges to encourage its employees and is also disseminating health and fitness tips through all its social media platforms for the benefit of the community.

Slash blood pressure and blood sugar with fitness

Dr Suhail Al Rukn, Neurologist and Head of Stroke Unit at Rashid Hospital, says: “This initiative is like no-other. Seeing community members build a simple but highly effective routine of getting 30 minutes of exercise per day is something I feel grateful towards as a doctor. There is absolutely no doubt that we can prevent a host of non-communicable chronic diseases if we adopt a healthy lifestyle and exerreducecise is a key pillar to achieve good health. Inactivity is a real global problem when it comes to lifestyle modification and this challenge offers people so much support and it is simple.

“I strongly urge community members to take up this challenge but most importantly to continue it after 30 days and to make it a part of their daily routine. The health benefits of exercise are simply multifold. From improvement in mood and mental well-being to the physical benefits of exercise such as its ability to lower blood pressure, prevent an onset of several chronic diseases such as diabetes and even help reverse certain health conditions such as prediabetes, the benefits are plenty.”

Mental health

Mayo Clinic says that 30 minutes of regular exercise can help lower blood pressure. A reduction of five to 10 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) is possible. In some cases, that is enough to prevent or reduce the need for blood pressure medications. Al Rukn says regular exercise helps improve cholesterol, prevents or helps manage type 2 diabetes, prevents obesity and the underlying health problems that accompany it. Weight-bearing exercises can help prevent osteoporosis. Additionally it does wonders for mental health.

Work out to de-stress

Dr Rukn added: “Exercise is a stress-busting tool, it helps provide mental clarity and also improves mood as we release endorphins (a feel-good hormone) when we exercise. It helps improve mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety as well as improves sleep. It is important to note that fitness enthusiasts and amateurs alike should not overdo exercising and should focus on the correct form or posture to ensure they prevent sports injuries. It is also important to focus on progressive overload, which means you increase your weights or intensify your exercise routine after consistently working out and not suddenly as this can lead to injuries. The idea is to work out regularly and that is the beauty of this challenge, you simply have

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Swiss urge caution as COVID cases again top 9,000

ZURICH/GENEVA (Reuters) – Coronavirus infections rose by 9,207 and hospitalisations by 279, data here from Swiss health authorities showed on Friday, as the country’s health care and contract tracing systems struggled to manage a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

FILE PHOTO: A poster reading “How we protect ourselves. Stop Corona. Meet less people as possible” is pictured in front of the Bundeshaus, the Swiss Parliament building, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Bern, Switzerland October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Switzerland has one of the highest infection rates in Europe, prompting Berne to introduce new nation-wide measures aimed at slowing transmission. But critics say measures do not go far enough, and have called for a lockdown, with infectious disease expert Jacques Fellay on Thursday urging Swiss citizens to cut their contacts in half.

Officials on Friday said the number of new cases was likely an underestimate given the high positivity rate and signs that the testing system is stretched.

The head of Switzerland’s scientific task force for COVID-19, Martin Ackermann, warned that hospital capacity would be exceeded before the effects of the new measures could be fully felt, given the incubation period of the virus.

“We should expect the capacity of our hospitals to be exceeded,” he told journalists, calling the risk “very considerable”. icumonitoring.ch

Under Switzerland’s federal system, some cantons have introduced measures more strict than national ones, such as limiting private gatherings to five.

The western canton of Jura also called in army support to relieve hospitals, after sending its first patient to a neighbouring canton for lack of intensive care facilities.

However, Ackermann warned that even mobilising the army on a national level–as occurred in the first wave–would have limited effect.

“You have seen the curve and if it continues, any increase in capacity will be exhausted within a few hours,” he said.

Officials urged discipline, asking families to refrain from trick-or-treating over Halloween.

“The numbers need to come down. It’s our only chance,” said Linda Nartey, cantonal doctor in Berne.

The total confirmed cases in Switzerland and tiny neighbouring principality Liechtenstein increased to 154,251, as the death toll rose by 52 to 2,037.

Reporting by Emma Farge, Thomas Seythal and Michael Shields; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

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Doctors urge flu shots in light of COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know.

Health experts have urged Americans to get their flu shots this year to help ward off a “twindemic.”

“There’s considerable concern as we enter the fall and the winter months and into the flu season that we’ll have that dreaded overlap” of COVID-19 and the flu, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said earlier this month. 

The U.S. is battling a fresh surge of new coronavirus cases as winter approaches, and hospitals in some western and Midwestern states are filling up with COVID patients. The new rise follows an outbreak of COVID-19 cases that hit the Northeast hard earlier this year, followed by a rise in cases in the South over the summer. 

“We far surpassed what we’re used to with the flu with COVID this spring,” said Dr. Stephanie Sterling, chief of infectious disease at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn, in New York. “And to consider COVID plus flu together, this kind of pandemic would be devastating for communities and for healthcare systems.” 

She said we need to do everything we can to prevent the flu. 

“We don’t want a bad influenza season coinciding with a second wave of COVID,” Sterling said. “Flu shots are safe. They do help prevent illness.”

Why is getting a flu shot so important this year? 

“One is to prevent flu illnesses and it’s complications, but the benefit in this current season are resources that would otherwise be needed to care for patients with the flu that would become scarce, could be directed toward the pandemic,” said Dr. Ram Koppaka, a medical officer for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The CDC estimates that last flu season, there were 38 million flu illnesses, 400,000 flu hospitalizations and 22,000 flu deaths. Koppaka said there were also 188 pediatric deaths from influenza. 

An estimated 48% of U.S. adults and 64% of children received a flu vaccine during the same season. Koppaka said the number of flu vaccinations had been increasing prior to COVID-19, but there was still a need for improvement. 

Sterling said that despite communities having a good amount of flu vaccinations, emergency rooms and hospital beds are often overwhelmed during a normal flu season.

This could be a great concern for hospitals in rural areas. Many rural hospitals have limited beds and ventilators, and rural Americans may be at higher risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 due to a range of factors, according to the CDC.

Additionally, the body does not do well fighting two infections at the same time, according to Dr. Jacqueline P. Cooke, a hospitalist at Jefferson Health in New Jersey. 

“The danger with COVID-19 is that the viral infection leads to overwhelming pneumonia and that type of viral pneumonia is what is causing the vast majority of people to need respiratory assistance and ventilation,” she said. 

Who should get a flu shot?

The CDC encourages people six months of age and older to get an annual flu shot. There are different types of vaccines that

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Start Pediatric Vaccine Trials for COVID-19 Now, Experts Urge

Sixteen-year-old Katelyn Evans of suburban Cincinnati rolled up the sleeve of her burgundy sweatshirt and waited for her shot — a chance to play a small role in combating the pandemic. The high school junior was among the first US teenagers younger than 18 to enter a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine. And although she doesn’t know whether she received a placebo or an actual dose, she is helping build evidence for how adolescents respond to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Until now, children have been mostly sidelined in the race for a vaccine. The path to pediatric vaccination will require a gradual expansion of large adult trials into teens and then into younger children, according to experts. Last week, Pfizer became the first manufacturer to gain US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to test the vaccine in children as young as 12 years of age. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, whose trial is paused in the United States, is already vaccinating 5- to 12-year-olds in clinical trials in the United Kingdom.

Still, debate continues to swirl around the timeline for US pediatric trials. Some pediatric vaccine experts are urging swift action, but the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), which sends its recommendations to US Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir, MD, is signaling that pediatric trials should await the release of safety and efficacy data from adult trials. The earliest such data will likely come from the Pfizer trial and could come as soon as late November, according to the company. (Based on current safety data in adult trials, Moderna intends to start pediatric trials by the end of the year, if it receives regulatory approval, a company spokesperson said.)

Stephen Hahn, MD, FDA commissioner, likewise indicated that the agency would want to see “really robust safety and efficacy data” in adults before moving forward with a pediatric vaccine trial. “Of course, we want to expedite the development of a vaccine for children, but we want to make sure that’s carefully done and thoughtfully considered,” he said during a recent webinar hosted by Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.


How Heavy Is Their Burden of COVID-19?

When to start pediatric trials is a question that requires weighing the potential risks of novel vaccines against possible benefits. “The burden of disease in children is so low that I don’t think we can tolerate any adverse events in children,” said NVAC member H. Cody Meissner, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Meissner is helping draft a panel recommendation that supports the “cautious but deliberate development” of phased trials.

Others look at the concept of burden more broadly. Since the pandemic began, 16-year-old Evans hasn’t been able to sing in the school choir. This fall, she returned to in-person classes, but in choir, they simply beat out the rhythm with their hands. Singing is considered a high-risk activity in the time of COVID-19.

That may seem like

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Idaho’s coronavirus cases spike again, doctors urge action

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is seeing its largest coronavirus spike since the pandemic began, with new cases increasing by 46.5% percent over the past two weeks. That trend has some health care experts urging Gov. Brad Little to take additional action to slow the spread.

“As a health system, we’re all very concerned,” said Dr. Bart Hill, the vice president and chief quality officer of St. Luke’s Health System, the largest health system in the state. “It’s indicative of anticipating we’re going to see more hospitalizations affecting an older population in the next two, three, four weeks.”

Idaho is currently sixth in the nation for new cases per capita, with a positivity rate of just over 15% — one of the highest in the nation. Still, Little has declined to take additional statewide steps like requiring masks to slow the virus.

“Idaho is an expansive state, and communities and their needs vary greatly across the state,” Little’s spokeswoman, Marissa Morrison, wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Governor Little remains committed to working closely with public health districts and mayors, and he supports the decisions of local officials in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in communities experiencing high virus activity.”

Little has repeatedly said that the responsibility to slow the coronavirus falls on individuals, urging people to wear masks, practice social distancing and practice good hygiene.

“Our personal actions work better to slow the spread of coronavirus than anything else,” Little said Thursday when he announced Idaho would remain in Stage 4 of his reopening plan for the 18th week in a row. “This is about personal responsibility, something Idaho is all about.”

A significant portion of Idaho residents, however, don’t seem to be taking Little’s message to heart. Photos of a volleyball game in the southern Idaho town of Twin Falls area posted to social media on Monday showed mask-less people sitting hip-to-hip in a packed school gym. St. Luke’s hospitals in the region, meanwhile, are now postponing elective surgeries to ensure there is room for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients in the coming days.

Hill said health care providers knew that the pandemic would ebb and flow over time, and the temporary statewide shutdown that Little ordered back in March gave medical facilities time to prepare for spikes like the one Idaho is currently experiencing. St. Luke’s Health System still has adequate capacity for now, he said.

“I know (St. Luke’s) leadership is having conversations with the governor today and tomorrow expressing our concerns that doing the same of what we have been doing is not likely to change our trajectory,” he said. “The direction we’re heading is one that it looks real problematic.”

Hill said he’s not advocating steps that would hurt the economy, but rather targeted interventions like information campaigns aimed at teens and young adults who are more likely to spread the virus to older and more at-risk Idahoans. Hill also said the state needs to improve testing capacity so

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Senators urge Pentagon to suspend implementation of Army’s new fitness test

“We have considerable concerns regarding the negative impact [the test] may already be having on so many careers,” they said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “It is imperative that we pause implementation until all questions and concerns are answered. Soldiers’ careers depend on it and the continued lethality of our force requires it.”

The senators asked the committee leaders to ensure a measure that would suspend rollout of the test until an independent study can be conducted is included in the final version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual defense bill. The provision appeared in the Senate-passed version of the bill, but not in the House version.

Lawmakers are expected to convene to reconcile the two versions of the bill after the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The test has become a charged issue within the Army as it pits the service’s effort to establish gender-blind standards and improve soldier readiness against fears it could pose an additional challenge to retaining skilled troops and compound obstacles faced by underrepresented populations within the force. Critics say it could have a disproportionate impact on women, who make up 15 percent of the Army but occupy few leadership positions.

Army data shows that, 18 months after small cohorts of soldiers started taking the test on a provisional basis, women continue to fail at dramatically higher rates than men. In the second quarter of 2020, 54 percent of women failed the test, compared to 7 percent of men.

The stark gender gap comes as Pentagon leaders express an urgent desire to rectify the military’s legacy of racial and gender inequity, issues that have long dogged the force but were given new prominence when race-related unrest gripped the nation this summer.

The test consists of six events, including a dead lift, weighted ball throw and, most problematically for women who have taken it to date, a “leg tuck,” which requires soldiers to lift themselves up from a pullup bar using their arm, core and leg muscles.

The test has different requirements for different career fields, but critics say that even the least demanding standards could remain out of reach for some. They also say consistently lower scores for female soldiers, who are typically lighter than men and thus must lift weights that are heavier relative to their body weight, could hold women back.

While Army leaders have said the test won’t impact evaluations until as early as 2022, it is expected to eventually affect enlisted personnel’s promotion potential and officers’ careers.

Army officials say the test is a product of years of research and is designed to better prepare troops for conditions they would encounter in combat. It places a higher emphasis on muscular strength than the previous Army fitness test, which was adjusted for age and gender and included pushups, pullups and a two-mile run.

Officials have also said troops can do an alternate to the leg tuck, a two-minute plank, while the test

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