Support ongoing efforts to make exercise inclusive of people of all ages and abilities.  image

Support ongoing efforts to make exercise inclusive of people of all ages and abilities.

Exercise has many proven health benefits, yet physical inactivity, obesity, and chronic disease continue to be growing problems.

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About IHRSA Foundation

The IHRSA Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization seeking to increase the health of all through regular physical activity. The IHRSA Foundation is building capacity and developing programs and resources for fitness facilities to more effectively provide people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities a place to improve their health through increased physical activity delivered via evidence-based exercise programs.

The elements that will enable access for all include the following:

  • Research on outcome-based wellness programs in clubs
  • Education and resources to support wellness
  • Programs and staff training that promotes health through exercise
  • Growing the support for and availability of ACCESS Health Programs

The IHRSA Foundation is working on:

Implementing club-based health programming, educating trainers/staff to deliver specific health programming, building partnerships with like-minded organizations, and building the evidence-base for club-based health programs.

By doing so, we will be able to:

Increase access to safe, effective exercise programs in health clubs, empower staff to offer programs and services for anyone who walks through the door, build credibility among consumers and the health community, and leverage partnerships to grow and expand programs.

The overall impact of this will be:

More people taking up exercise by way of a safe, supportive environment, more people who are physically active, and health clubs better utilized as a solution to physical inactivity.

For more on the IHRSA Foundation’s work, read our 2019 IHRSA Foundation Annual Report.

IHRSA Foundation Resources

Creating an Inclusive Fitness Club and Sector E-book

There are 1.5 billion people living with a disability, and even more with chronic disease and mobility limitations. This e-book is the starting point for closing any remaining knowledge gaps on the topic of universal inclusion and can help you create a culture of inclusivity in your club. This resource will provide you with:

  • an introduction to principles of inclusion,
  • 6 practices to start promoting inclusion at your club,
  • 4 steps your club can use to move towards greater inclusion with UFIT,
  • and more.



The IHRSA Foundation envisions a future where thousands of clubs offer the programs and services to support the more than 80 million inactive Americans to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. Our vision is to start small, with pilot programs in a handful of clubs, but to think big. Imagine 10,000 health clubs offering programs for every type of chronic condition to people who may never have stepped foot in a health club before.

The pilot programs operate through a “train-the-trainer” model with the eventual goal of cultivating teams of regional experts who can then train the thousands of other trainers on how to deliver evidence-based health and wellness programs to their communities.

Program Frameworks

ACCESS Health: Cancer Wellness

A 6 week "train the trainer" program pairing fitness professionals with medical professionals to serve the health needs of cancer survivors.

ACCESS Health: Diabetes

A multi-dimensional wellness program using best practices from a health club-based diabetes program to improve health of people with diabetes.

ACCESS Health: Chronic Disease

Helping people at risk for chronic health issues to prevent chronic disease through exercise and positive lifestyle behaviors.

ACCESS Health: Inclusive Fitness

A program to increase fitness opportunities for individuals with disabilities, providing resources and support to clubs to create a fully inclusive environment and open their doors to people living with physical and intellectual disabilities. This program is based on the Universal Fitness Innovation and Transformation (UFIT) model.


Universal Fitness Innovation & Transformation—known as UFIT—is a global social change movement that helps health clubs build their capacity to welcome people of all abilities into the club. UFIT and the IHRSA Foundation provide training, support, and resources to help clubs change their culture to one of accessibility and inclusivity.

IHRSA and the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Fitness, Sport and Recreation, PE launched UFIT with partners across the globe in 2015, following a two-year European Commission funded project.

UFIT provides a pathway designed to help clubs move toward greater inclusion.

Start by signing the Get Active for All Pledge and/or become a UFIT Supporter

Fitness sector professionals who are ready to move (or already working) toward a more inclusive fitness industry can sign the Get Active for All Pledge. This pledge outlines the principles laid out in the Marseille Declaration.

For clubs who are ready to commit to advancing inclusion in their fitness facilities and the industry as a whole, the owner/operator of that club can sign on as a UFIT Supporter, affirming their commitment to the Get Active for All Pledge on behalf of their business.

Get Active for All Pledge signees and UFIT Supporter clubs receive a certificate and access to introductory resources on taking the next steps toward greater inclusion.

Learn more about UFIT at

Other Ways to Get Involved

Sign up for Email Updates

We’ll let you know when we hit important milestones, reach out with opportunities for clubs, master trainers, or mentors to join a pilot program, and share the occasional fundraising email (just a few each year). Get on the list.


Your support will enable us to expand our programs.

Partner with the IHRSA Foundation

Work with us to study the effectiveness of an existing club program and expand it to other clubs. If you have a program that is making a difference in your members health and well-being, and you would be willing to work with the IHRSA Foundation to implement the program across other clubs, email to start a conversation.