Gym Safety During COVID-19: Fact vs Myth
We know that COVID-19 has presented everyone – individuals, businesses and governments alike – with significant challenges. Among these challenges is deciphering what is fact versus myth. Some assertions that have been made simply do not have data or facts to support them. Therefore, along with hundreds of other health and fitness organizations across the nation, we’re sharing the following facts and data with you.
The programs and services the fitness industry provides are crucial to personal and overall public health. We now are aware of data from the CDC that shows individuals with obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other conditions are at significantly increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as compared to those without these underlying conditions. Yet, some messaging has advanced an anti-fitness club narrative. Even worse, this is occurring at a time when the public needs these essential services the most. Therefore, we believe the next 4 points are important for your review:
- For example, in a survey of 2,877 health clubs, 49.4 million club check-ins occurred through August 5th, 2020, according to Blair McHaney, CEO of MXMetrics. With millions of safe check-ins and counting, fitness remains one of the safest industries to reopen during the COVID-19 period.
- Norwegian public health researchers found no COVID-19 transmissions associated with fitness centers in a randomized trial of members of clubs offering fitness services, including higher intensity exercises, with safety protocols in place that were simple and easy to follow. As a result, Norway, one of the most health-aware countries in the world, reopened its gyms nationwide.
- On average, gyms have five times more square footage per person than establishments like cycling studios and hair salons that have also reopened. With two huge locations at 110,000 and 88,000 square feet, AFC has redone the gym layouts to allow for social distancing.
2. AFC is committed to the well-being of our local community. Our ties to the local area run generations deep – we started our small business in the Philadelphia area 29 years ago, and our family and our employees’ families are raised here, too. From the beginning of the COVID-19 period, we’ve followed government orders and CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe. Our gyms in Bala Cynwyd and Feasterville follow these guidelines daily.
3. We have members, rather than customers. This distinction is very important. AFC members have more pride of ownership in their club than customers of other types of businesses. Just like employees, members are much more likely to understand and follow required health and safety protocols than random customers. This allows our clubs to execute much more consistently to keep members and employees safe.
4. With or without a vaccine, our own immune system and personal health is the best defense we have. Healthier people – even if infected – are less likely to require hospital care, which can ease pressures on our health care systems. Health and fitness clubs play a vital role in this by helping members improve their physical and mental wellness and reduce key risk factors.
One member’s story shows the effect of the fitness community on personal health. Angel Willis, a member of fellow fitness operator Vent Fitness, said it best, “There’s nothing like being there in the gym, next to people that you know love and support you and want the best for you.” Willis said the gym has helped her overcome diabetes and come down from the 300 pounds she weighed years ago.
- There are no facts or data to support the assertion that fitness clubs are spreading COVID-19;
- In fact, clubs operated safely can only help – not hurt – during this unfortunate situation; and,
- As a local small business, AFC Fitness is passionate and committed to the health and well-being of our members and our community.
If you agree, please feel free to share this message with others.
We truly appreciate the ongoing support our membership and local community. Without you, we couldn’t be here to serve.