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Frequently Asked Questions

The Fitness is Essential campaign is led by the Community Gyms Coalition (CGC), and is offered as a commitment to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Fitness is Essential will educate Americans about the broad, profoundly positive effects of physical activity and fitness on mental and physical well-being. CGC members will encourage increased access to resources such as free day passes and consultations about fitness goals and participants’ body intelligence. CGC members will also raise awareness with community leaders and policymakers about steps they can take to encourage physical activity and fitness in communities across the country.

Exactly how it sounds! It’s absolutely essential for all people to be healthy and fit to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and mental conditions, and improve their quality of life. Making fitness essential means a healthier, stronger, and happier America.

Americans are more unfit and unhealthy than ever before. About half of all Americans live with at least one chronic disease, and this number is only expected to increase over time. Chronic disease kills more than 1.7 million people in America per year, and accounts for 70 percent of all deaths. Exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and is often encouraged to manage chronic disease in those who are already struggling with them. The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that chronic diseases, while harmful on their own, can also leave the people they afflict more susceptible to acute illnesses. According to the CDC, having obesity increases the risk of severe illness and may triple the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19. The NIH found that four conditions – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure – led to nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Fortunately, regular physical activity can help to prevent, alleviate and manage these conditions.

The difference between physical activity and fitness is simple: physical activity is a range of actions that, over time, lead to a person becoming fit (i.e. fitness). It’s better to be fit than to be just physically active occasionally. Being physically active is a step towards fitness. We all should aim high to achieve fitness so that we can go about our lives with the least risk of disease and with optimal performance!

Any physical activity is a step in the right direction toward fitness. Build toward fitness at a safe, sustainable pace doing whatever physical activity you prefer. That could mean playing a sport, hiking, going to the gym, or going for a walk. Ultimately, the goal for adults is to do at least: 

  • 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of the two. 
  • Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week. 
  • 2 or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity involving all major muscle groups.

The Community Gyms Coalition is a grassroots coalition of more than 15,000 small gyms and fitness studios across the country. Launched in November 2020 by prominent fitness brands such as Anytime Fitness, CrossFit, Orangetheory Fitness and Planet Fitness, the CGC advocates for a renewed focus on the importance of fitness following the devastating toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.