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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Opinion: The case for gyms

It’s time gyms and health clubs are recognised as a cornerstone of our global recovery from COVID-19 and given the necessary backing, says Phillip Mills

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 7
Gym members are 14 times more active than non-members
Gym members are 14 times more active than non-members

A recent IHRSA briefing highlighted the benefits of exercise, offering scientific evidence that shows health clubs pose no higher risk of COVID-19 transmission than other public places, when operating under appropriate guidelines.

It noted that “there has not been any evidence of COVID-19 spreading in any US club to date.”

So now we are starting to gather the evidence to show gyms are safe, how can we hammer home the solutions they bring when it comes to bouncing back from COVID-19?

Proving value
A study by consultants, McKinsey, found the economic impact of better health among the world’s population could add US$12 trillion to global GDP by 2040 – an 8 per cent boost.

Investing in this area now could help kickstart our global economic recovery from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the health front, a new academic paper by scientist David C Nieman, suggests regular physical activity should be undertaken to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19. Nieman believes it’s as important as physical distancing, hand washing and the wearing of face coverings. He found aerobic exercise increases immunological fitness by increasing blood flow and mobilising white blood cells.

Regular exercise also guards against obesity, and as Nieman makes clear, “reduces risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – three of the most important underlying conditions for COVID-19”.

Meanwhile, research led by Professor Zhen Yan at the University of Virginia found that regular exercise may reduce the risk of complications in people with COVID-19.

Studying an antioxidant called extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) that’s released in the body during exercise, Yan’s work “strongly supports” the possibility that higher levels of EcSOD in the body can prevent or at least reduce the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – one of the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

Yan urges people to protect themselves by starting to exercise more to boost EcSOD levels.

Demonstrating value
Clearly exercise is vital to our planet’s comeback from COVID-19 on a number of important levels, so how do we demonstrate the value of those who provide it?

Lockdown increased the range of options for people to stay active at home, leading some in the media to question whether we still need gyms to service our fitness needs. After all, no one owns the patent to the press up and and there’s no finer treadmill than the great outdoors – but if this is the case, why are gym members on average found to be 14 times more active than non-members?

One reason is that our facilities don’t just serve up fitness, they also give members motivation. We know this remains a key ingredient in regular exercise adherence and is one of the key reasons our industry exists.

Among the most powerful motivators are the accountability and sense of connection we get from working out with others. Nowhere is this more evident than in a live group workout. Anyone who’s felt the electricity of a great class will attest that it’s one of the most powerful and motivational workout experiences you can get.

Peer support
Plenty of research shows this sense of connection and accountability pays dividends. Research indicates that members who work out in groups are far more likely to stick to exercise than those who go it alone. Science shows that we get more enjoyment and satisfaction when we work out in a group. And there’s evidence that when we’re surrounded by the healthy actions of others, it rubs off on us too.

A study published in Obesity Journal indicated that when overweight people spent time with their fit friends they lost more weight, and the more time they spent with these friends, the more weight they lost.

This finding is backed up by another study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, showing that 95 per cent of those who follow a weight loss program with a friend complete it, but just 76 per cent make it to the end if they go it alone.

There’s also evidence of the Kohler Effect, where we push ourselves harder when working out alongside others. One study compared people planking on their own and with a partner (who had superior ability).

When planking with a more capable partner, people were clearly more motivated, increasing their plank duration by 24 per cent.

A study by Kansas State University found that working out alongside other capable exercisers can increase your workout time and intensity by 200 per cent.

Embracing active habits
Motivation is a key component of an enduring exercise habit and that’s why it’s so important for society to get back to health clubs globally – and all the things that make them inspiring – as soon as is safely possible.

As the UK government’s Chief Medical Adviser, Chris Whitty, said at a coronavirus briefing on 15 April, “There is no situation, there is no age and no condition where exercise is not a good thing... exercise is one of the best things you can possibly do.”

Whitty said being physically active is “very important to long-term health” and crucial for keeping people fighting fit during the ongoing pandemic.

The alternative would have catastrophic consequences for our physical and mental health, not to mention that of the economy and environment: in the US alone, chronic diseases that can be prevented by regular exercise are projected to cost US$42 trillion between 2016 and 2030.

We know exercise in pill-form would be hailed as a wonder drug. A huge 2013 comparison study of exercise and drug interventions published in the British Medical Journal found that being fit was as good if not better at combatting a number of chronic illnesses.

It truly is the best medicine, with the power to improve everything from general wellbeing and musculoskeletal disease to cardiovascular problems, cancers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression.

As the world adjusts in the wake of this major health pandemic, with lessons learned and safer processes in place, it’s time for governments to recognise the vital role of gyms in society and take meaningful action to support them. Our COVID-19 recovery depends on it.

Philip Mills, executive director of Les Mills, says it’s time to recognise the power of gyms – economically and in terms of health

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Working out 
alongside Capable
exercisers can 
increase your
workout time and
intensity by 200 per cent
Working out alongside Capable exercisers can increase your workout time and intensity by 200 per cent
Exercise has the power to improve everything from general wellbeing to mental health / Les Mills
Exercise has the power to improve everything from general wellbeing to mental health / Les Mills
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/938581_233610.jpg
'How can we hammer home the solutions that gyms bring when it comes to bouncing back from COVID-19', asks Phillip Mills
Philip Mills, Les Mills, Covid-19,gyms, health clubs, recovery
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HCM People
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Sponsored
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Research
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Tokyo Olympics
GLL is best known for running leisure facilities on behalf of local authorities across the UK, but a lesser-known part of its remit is its GLL Sport Foundation which supports Olympic hopefuls. Liz Terry finds out more
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Hybrid
The Gym Group has taken its digital hybrid strategy full circle, piloting in-gym workout pods and studios with its home workout delivery partner, Fiit. HCM talks to the team driving the project
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Andy Janes and Jamie Whisken explain the vision behind R1SE Bournemouth, and why Technogym was their choice of partner in delivering their unique fusion boutique
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Insight
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Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
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Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
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Featured supplier news: Power Plate teams up with Myzone for a new exercise experience
Power Plate has teamed up with Myzone to provide its community with new class experiences and the opportunity to offer rewards based on effort, every time they move.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Active IQ Skills Hub helps fitness professionals boost skills in post-Covid market
Suffice to say that the pandemic has completely changed the way fitness professionals work and the way consumers work out – and therein lies opportunity.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company
Physical Company’s mission statement is ‘First for Fitness Solutions’ – a statement that reflects the ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Mediana Co., Ltd.
Mediana specialises in the manufacture of medical and health care devices, such as body composition ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Salt therapy products
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Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Opinion: The case for gyms

It’s time gyms and health clubs are recognised as a cornerstone of our global recovery from COVID-19 and given the necessary backing, says Phillip Mills

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 7
Gym members are 14 times more active than non-members
Gym members are 14 times more active than non-members

A recent IHRSA briefing highlighted the benefits of exercise, offering scientific evidence that shows health clubs pose no higher risk of COVID-19 transmission than other public places, when operating under appropriate guidelines.

It noted that “there has not been any evidence of COVID-19 spreading in any US club to date.”

So now we are starting to gather the evidence to show gyms are safe, how can we hammer home the solutions they bring when it comes to bouncing back from COVID-19?

Proving value
A study by consultants, McKinsey, found the economic impact of better health among the world’s population could add US$12 trillion to global GDP by 2040 – an 8 per cent boost.

Investing in this area now could help kickstart our global economic recovery from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the health front, a new academic paper by scientist David C Nieman, suggests regular physical activity should be undertaken to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19. Nieman believes it’s as important as physical distancing, hand washing and the wearing of face coverings. He found aerobic exercise increases immunological fitness by increasing blood flow and mobilising white blood cells.

Regular exercise also guards against obesity, and as Nieman makes clear, “reduces risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – three of the most important underlying conditions for COVID-19”.

Meanwhile, research led by Professor Zhen Yan at the University of Virginia found that regular exercise may reduce the risk of complications in people with COVID-19.

Studying an antioxidant called extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) that’s released in the body during exercise, Yan’s work “strongly supports” the possibility that higher levels of EcSOD in the body can prevent or at least reduce the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – one of the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

Yan urges people to protect themselves by starting to exercise more to boost EcSOD levels.

Demonstrating value
Clearly exercise is vital to our planet’s comeback from COVID-19 on a number of important levels, so how do we demonstrate the value of those who provide it?

Lockdown increased the range of options for people to stay active at home, leading some in the media to question whether we still need gyms to service our fitness needs. After all, no one owns the patent to the press up and and there’s no finer treadmill than the great outdoors – but if this is the case, why are gym members on average found to be 14 times more active than non-members?

One reason is that our facilities don’t just serve up fitness, they also give members motivation. We know this remains a key ingredient in regular exercise adherence and is one of the key reasons our industry exists.

Among the most powerful motivators are the accountability and sense of connection we get from working out with others. Nowhere is this more evident than in a live group workout. Anyone who’s felt the electricity of a great class will attest that it’s one of the most powerful and motivational workout experiences you can get.

Peer support
Plenty of research shows this sense of connection and accountability pays dividends. Research indicates that members who work out in groups are far more likely to stick to exercise than those who go it alone. Science shows that we get more enjoyment and satisfaction when we work out in a group. And there’s evidence that when we’re surrounded by the healthy actions of others, it rubs off on us too.

A study published in Obesity Journal indicated that when overweight people spent time with their fit friends they lost more weight, and the more time they spent with these friends, the more weight they lost.

This finding is backed up by another study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, showing that 95 per cent of those who follow a weight loss program with a friend complete it, but just 76 per cent make it to the end if they go it alone.

There’s also evidence of the Kohler Effect, where we push ourselves harder when working out alongside others. One study compared people planking on their own and with a partner (who had superior ability).

When planking with a more capable partner, people were clearly more motivated, increasing their plank duration by 24 per cent.

A study by Kansas State University found that working out alongside other capable exercisers can increase your workout time and intensity by 200 per cent.

Embracing active habits
Motivation is a key component of an enduring exercise habit and that’s why it’s so important for society to get back to health clubs globally – and all the things that make them inspiring – as soon as is safely possible.

As the UK government’s Chief Medical Adviser, Chris Whitty, said at a coronavirus briefing on 15 April, “There is no situation, there is no age and no condition where exercise is not a good thing... exercise is one of the best things you can possibly do.”

Whitty said being physically active is “very important to long-term health” and crucial for keeping people fighting fit during the ongoing pandemic.

The alternative would have catastrophic consequences for our physical and mental health, not to mention that of the economy and environment: in the US alone, chronic diseases that can be prevented by regular exercise are projected to cost US$42 trillion between 2016 and 2030.

We know exercise in pill-form would be hailed as a wonder drug. A huge 2013 comparison study of exercise and drug interventions published in the British Medical Journal found that being fit was as good if not better at combatting a number of chronic illnesses.

It truly is the best medicine, with the power to improve everything from general wellbeing and musculoskeletal disease to cardiovascular problems, cancers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression.

As the world adjusts in the wake of this major health pandemic, with lessons learned and safer processes in place, it’s time for governments to recognise the vital role of gyms in society and take meaningful action to support them. Our COVID-19 recovery depends on it.

Philip Mills, executive director of Les Mills, says it’s time to recognise the power of gyms – economically and in terms of health

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Working out 
alongside Capable
exercisers can 
increase your
workout time and
intensity by 200 per cent
Working out alongside Capable exercisers can increase your workout time and intensity by 200 per cent
Exercise has the power to improve everything from general wellbeing to mental health / Les Mills
Exercise has the power to improve everything from general wellbeing to mental health / Les Mills
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/938581_233610.jpg
'How can we hammer home the solutions that gyms bring when it comes to bouncing back from COVID-19', asks Phillip Mills
Philip Mills, Les Mills, Covid-19,gyms, health clubs, recovery
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Latest News
Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
Latest News
Fitness equipment giant Nautilus has acquired VAY, a firm specialising in AI and motion technology. ...
Latest News
An award celebrating outstanding individuals in the fitness sector is to be named in honour ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has reorganised its top team in order to expand its estate ...
Latest News
Downtown Miami’s upcoming mixed-use development Legacy Hotel & Residences has signed a joint venture deal ...
Latest News
Colin Waggett has revealed that the recent deal, which saw KSL Capital Partners acquire a ...
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3d Leisure has acquired franchised studio operator Yourzone45 from Elms Fitness Group for an undisclosed ...
Latest News
A new, one-day conference will create a platform for a debate on how the global ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Power Plate teams up with Myzone for a new exercise experience
Power Plate has teamed up with Myzone to provide its community with new class experiences and the opportunity to offer rewards based on effort, every time they move.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Active IQ Skills Hub helps fitness professionals boost skills in post-Covid market
Suffice to say that the pandemic has completely changed the way fitness professionals work and the way consumers work out – and therein lies opportunity.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company
Physical Company’s mission statement is ‘First for Fitness Solutions’ – a statement that reflects the ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Mediana Co., Ltd.
Mediana specialises in the manufacture of medical and health care devices, such as body composition ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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