Each week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden will bring you his most important topics of the moment in a short five-minute video as part of an ongoing series called “Take 5.”

IHRSA’s Take 5: COVID-19 Data to ‘Really Lift Your Spirits’ [VIDEO]

This week, IHRSA Interim President & CEO Brent Darden shares new research and data related to the fitness industry that is sure to lift your spirits.

  • December 16, 2020

The fact that new data continues to show that there is no correlation between health club visits and COVID-19 cases can’t be shared enough. The more information that can get into the hands of lawmakers, business owners, and gym-goers, the better the outlook is for the industry.

In this week’s Take 5, Brent will discuss the latest contact tracing data and what officials are saying in six states and D.C., and shares five key findings from an insightful report Gympass recently released.

Watch the full video for all of the latest news from Brent. You can also read the transcript below.

  • 0:02 - Thank You for Signing the Active & Safe Commitment
  • 0:42 - Data You Can Share with Your Members
  • 3:37 - Gympass Report Shows People Still Prefer In-person Workouts

Full Transcript

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week's Take 5.

Thank You for Signing the Active & Safe Commitment

This week I want to focus on some new research and data related to the industry that I think will really lift your spirits. But first, let me say thank you to the many clubs that have signed the Active & Safe Commitment. So far, almost 1,000 clubs around the world have already made the commitment and are showing our industry's unyielding dedication to safety, with many more to come. If you haven't done so yet, we're asking every club, both members and non-members alike, to visit IHRSA.org/activeandsafe and make the commitment. The more clubs we get signed on, the better it's going to be for all of us.

Data You Can Share with Your Members

Especially now, just in time for the new year and when many of our members will be reevaluating their fitness goals, we also have some new research and data we want to share with you that you can in turn share with your members if you'd like.

First, the Oregon Consulting Group used comprehensive contact tracing data from Colorado and overlapped that with fitness club attendance data from ABC Fitness Solutions, Mindbody, and 24 Hour Fitness to study the association between health club attendance and COVID-19 cases. The key takeaway: they found absolutely no correlation between health club visits and COVID-19 cases. This analysis confirms what we already know. And that is health clubs are not driving COVID-19 transmission. And this of course is great news. It also fits with other data we have, which you can find on the IHRSA website at any time.

The Oregon Consulting Group used data from Colorado, but other states have released very similar data and information through their own contact tracing. My good friend and owner of Saco Sport & Fitness in Maine, Scott Gillespie, compiled some of that information and I wanted to share it with all of you as well. It's really great and helps tell the story about the lack of exposure when visiting health clubs.

In Louisiana when it comes to contact tracing, fitness centers are considered low risk, and in the bottom half of all industries.

In Massachusetts, health clubs are combined with recreation and that group accounts for 0.002% of cases.

To the north, Ben Truman, the Vermont Department of Health spokesman, said, "We have not seen outbreaks associated with gyms, nor documented instances of transmission within that setting."

Virginia only publishes the top seven categories for outbreaks and fitness centers are not even on that list.

Likewise, Washington D.C. only publishes the top 12 categories accounting for 100% of tracked outbreaks, and fitness centers are not on their list either.

Finally, in Washington state, health clubs are put in the same category as arts and entertainment. And collectively, that category accounts for only 1% of cases.

This data and information is vital to making the case to lawmakers that clubs aren't the problem. And it really does make a difference. In case you haven't seen the report from Governor Cuomo, after New York state performed their own detailed contact tracing, they found that gyms were amongst the lowest risk activities in line actually with hunting and farming. Governor Cuomo finally publicly stated, "Gyms are not a source of spread." Of course, this is more fantastic independent data and affirmation for our industry.

Gympass Report Shows People Still Prefer In-person Workouts

Finally, since this will be the last Take 5 of 2020, I wanted to share some key findings from an insightful report Gympass recently released. They sampled 9,000 employees and found most people still prefer offline, in-person workouts. 40% say they did not get the same results and consistency from working out online. Also, the number of people who tried online workouts grew 36% because of the pandemic, with YouTube being the preferred platform of 42% of the people using that. This data confirms that fitness facilities need to continue thinking beyond brick and mortar outside their four walls, if you will, to a more omnichannel approach, especially since 16% of people are not planning to return in-person according to this survey, and 12% of newly active people are coming from previously online methods.

I just want to thank all of you for watching this week's Take 5, and to Precor for sponsoring this video. I hope all of you and your families have a happy holiday and a joyous new year and I hope to see you all again in 2021.

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Katie Willis

Katie Willis previously served as IHRSA's Senior Marketing Operations Manager—a position that created and executed marketing campaigns to grow IHRSA and promote its events.