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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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Lack of exercise is a major cause of death from COVID-19, according to new research, with only advanced age and organ transplant leading to greater risk
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Policy
The health and fitness industry felt as though it wasn’t invited to its own party when news of the government’s Fit Miles programme broke. But what does it actually mean and is it good or bad news for the sector? Kath Hudson investigates
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Town planning
Over time, town planning has led to the creation of obesogenic environments, but Hamilton in New Zealand is taking a fresh approach to mobilising its population, by turning the city into a playground, as Kath Hudson reports
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A report commissioned by Parkrun has estimated that allowing mass-participation outdoor events carries an "exceptionally ...
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Peloton is recalling all of its Tread and Tread+ machines in the US, after striking ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: New consumer expectations demand an exceptional customer experience
fibodo believes that providers who meet consumers needs of service, flexibility, richness of content and accessibility will thrive as we build new and different models of working in leisure, health and fitness and across all sports and activities.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Integrated workout solutions will underpin gyms' recovery, says Les Mills’ Martin Franklin
The UK has spent most of the year in lockdown but finally, clubs are beginning to see their fitness communities open back up, with indoor group exercise not far behind.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: EMD UK
EMD UK is the national governing body for group exercise. Funded by Sport England, EMD ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
07-09 Jun 2021
Virtual summit,
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
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
A report commissioned by Parkrun has estimated that allowing mass-participation outdoor events carries an "exceptionally ...
Latest News
Jan Spaticchia, founder and chair of énergie Fitness has died aged 51 following a short ...
Latest News
A new pioneering approach looks to help cancer patients prepare for and respond to treatment ...
Latest News
Peloton is recalling all of its Tread and Tread+ machines in the US, after striking ...
Latest News
Health club operator Bannatyne is repositioning itself as a wellness provider, as it looks to ...
Latest News
Health clubs and leisure centres in Northern Ireland reopened their doors on Friday 30 April, ...
Latest News
It's time to refocus on the changing needs of older adults, according to a new ...
Latest News
In breaking news, HCM understands that David Lloyd Leisure's Glenn Earlam will move from his ...
Latest News
Sport England has reported a drop of 710,000 in the number of people classed as ...
Latest News
Independent gyms in the UK have fared better during the pandemic than larger corporate operators ...
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Actor Mark Wahlberg has officially joined Power Plate as an investor in parent company, Performance ...
Opinion
promotion
The UK’s first dedicated leisure development framework has completed its first four-year term with £144m committed investment in public leisure projects.
Opinion: UK’s first leisure framework celebrates £144m investment in public leisure
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: New consumer expectations demand an exceptional customer experience
fibodo believes that providers who meet consumers needs of service, flexibility, richness of content and accessibility will thrive as we build new and different models of working in leisure, health and fitness and across all sports and activities.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Integrated workout solutions will underpin gyms' recovery, says Les Mills’ Martin Franklin
The UK has spent most of the year in lockdown but finally, clubs are beginning to see their fitness communities open back up, with indoor group exercise not far behind.
Company profiles
Company profile: Merrithew™ - Leaders in Mindful Movement™
Merrithew™ enriches the lives of others with responsible exercise modalities and innovative, multidisciplinary fitness offerings ...
Company profiles
Company profile: EMD UK
EMD UK is the national governing body for group exercise. Funded by Sport England, EMD ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
07-09 Jun 2021
Virtual summit,
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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