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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
HCM magazine
HCM People

Danielle Obe

Chair, The Black Swimming Association
Our vision is a future with ethnic diversity in aquatics
HCM magazine
I’d like to see the gym sector help champion the social prescribing agenda, as a route to getting more people engaged in physical activity
HCM magazine
Research confirms the role health clubs can play in supporting people in nurturing their mental health, as Victor Brick explains
HCM Magazine
Insight
Nearly 60% of exercisers favour a 60:40 split between gym and home workouts
HCM Magazine
Research
Focusing on dieting has failed to offset the rising tide of obesity, say researchers from the Universities of Arizona and Virginia. A focus on fitness gives better health outcomes
HCM Magazine
Everyone’s talking about
In the last issue of HCM, we checked with big box operators in the UK to see how trading has been going since restrictions were lifted. This month we turn our attention to boutiques and urban studios to find out how they’re faring. Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
Policy
As the UK government’s social prescribing initiative gains momentum, Kenny Butler calls on the sector to step up and get involved
HCM Magazine
Letters
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
Statistics
How have consumers responded to the end of lockdowns? Cesar Carvalho shares some bounceback numbers with HCM
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
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
HCM Magazine
Latest News
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Founder of dynamic yoga platform launches cinematic wellbeing classes for luxury spas and hotels
Matt Miller, founder of leading yoga training platform Broga has announced the launch of Earth+Sky – a collection of cinematic virtual wellbeing classes filmed in breath-taking locations around the world.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
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: Fisikal Limited
Fisikal helps fitness professionals, operators and education organisations improve efficiencies and service through its online ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Founder of dynamic yoga platform launches cinematic wellbeing classes for luxury spas and hotels
Matt Miller, founder of leading yoga training platform Broga has announced the launch of Earth+Sky – a collection of cinematic virtual wellbeing classes filmed in breath-taking locations around the world.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
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: Fisikal Limited
Fisikal helps fitness professionals, operators and education organisations improve efficiencies and service through its online ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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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