Research reveals low risk of catching Covid-19 at gyms
Gyms, fitness clubs and leisure facilities are revealed to have ‘extremely’ low levels of Covid-19 risk, according to the preliminary findings of a new study from Sheffield Hallam’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) and King Juan Carlos University in Spain.
The SafeACTiVE study, commissioned by EuropeActive a leading voice and non-profit association for the European fitness and physical activity sector, has analysed more than 62 million fitness facility visits since September and finds that the average infection rate is 0.78 per 100.000 visits – with only 487 positive cases reported from operators based in Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.
The findings mitigate public health concerns about the safety of gyms and provides a strong argument for keeping the fitness and physical activity sector open during any future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Professor Rob Copeland, director of the AWRC, said: “Data from the SafeACTiVE study shows that gyms across the EU are safe places to exercise.
The prevention of the further spread of Covid-19 has to be our primary objective but we also need to ensure that our communities are supported and have the opportunity to remain active.
"We know that being physically fit can help reduce the severity of Covid-19 infection and, moreover, being active can help us cope psychologically when faced with the challenges of a second wave across Europe.
"Keeping leisure centres and fitness clubs open and fully operational is critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities.
"I would go further and suggest that governments across Europe should be thinking about how we can increase access to activity, not reduce it, as we learn to live with Covid-19.”
Professor Alfonso Jimenez, Head of THINK Active at EuropeActive, added: “I am delighted to confirm such a low level of infection risk in fitness and health clubs, reinforcing the message that fitness and physical activity are a fundamental part of the solution during the Covid-19 pandemic in helping strengthen and improve immune functioning and lower risk of viral illness.”