You and I both know that physical fitness is vital for overall wellness and preventing lifestyle diseases. While parks and recreation facilities are typically the accessible and affordable option for fitness, physical activity costs can still be a barrier for many Americans. Whether it’s new cleats for growing feet, athletic league fees, or deciding whether you can afford that Zumba class, prioritizing funds for physical activity can be a serious challenge.
In an effort to help Americans close the exercise gap, get fit, and cut down on the health and economic costs of inactivity, NRPA is supporting the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. The PHIT Act would allow individuals to avoid out of pockets costs for physical activity by using up to $1,000 ($2,000 for couples) from their Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs). Under the PHIT Act, these accounts could be used to pay for organized, individual, and team sports, fitness and exercise program, and recreation activities.
Over the last thirty years, obesity rates have gone up while our activity rates have fallen. Today, 82 million Americans are totally inactive. Part of these activity changes can be blamed on lifestyle and technology shifts — we don’t move as much because our lives no longer require activity. Passing the PHIT Act can help remove some of the barriers Americans have to getting active.
Allowing fitness expenses to be part of a person’s overall health care expenses positions these activities where they belong — as a critical part of a healthy lifestyle and not a luxury for those who have the drive and means to do so. Passing the PHIT Act can also help increase participation in sports leagues, boot camps, and classes at parks and recreation centers around the country.
Learn more about how the PHIT Act works and what you can do to help lower the cost of physical activity. In the meantime, contact your member of Congress and tell them to pass the PHIT Act.
Oliver Spurgeon is NRPA’s Manager of Government Affairs.