Five-point plan proposed for the reopening of German fitness sector
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Five-point plan proposed for the reopening of German fitness sector

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The trade body for the German fitness sector, Deutscher Industrieverband für Fitness und Gesundheit (DIFG), has published a detailed road map for the reopening of the country's gyms, health clubs and fitness studios.

In partnership with two leading universities, DIFG has produced a "scientifically proven", five-point plan, which outlines the measures needed to safely reopen fitness facilities in an environment in which COVID-19 could still be present.

Following the publication of the plan, DIFG called on the federal government to place the reopening of fitness facilities at the forefront of its measures to begin easing the shutdown.

To strengthen the message, DIFG has organised a high-profile advertising campaign – under the motto of "Gesundheit Braucht Fitness" (health needs fitness) – across a number of leading print media.

The campaign outlines the benefits of physical activity to public health and also points out the adverse effects lack of exercise can have on physical and mental health – from diabetes and depression to cardiovascular problems.

DIFG has also launched a dedicated website to support the campaign.

Drawn up by the Technical University of Munich and the University of Applied Sciences of Düsseldorf, the plan's five points of action are:

1. Employee training

A comprehensive learning programme for all fitness workers, to ensure all facility staff are made aware of possible infection routes and proper disinfection procedures, while also being able to identify those most at risk of infection.

Gym operators and studio owners should also work with their employees on a daily basis to keep them up to date with the latest developments – such as monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases in their area.

2. An information campaign aimed at members

To help customers feel confident that gyms are safe environments, operators need to inform members about the measures and actions undertaken at their gyms to ensure infection risk is minimised.

3. Adjusting gym operations

All facilities must adopt efficient and thorough measures to minimise the risk of infection through droplets and/or fomites.

4. The protection of risk groups

Special protective measures need to be in place for those most at risk from COVID-19. High-risk groups also need to be clearly informed of the measures to ensure compliance.

5. Plan to react quickly in case of potential infection

Comprehensive plans need to be put in place so facilities can react quickly in the case of any member showing COVID-19 symptoms – or if a member tests positive for coronavirus.

Commenting on the plan and the campaign, Ralph Scholz, chair of DIFG, said: "The fitness industry has made valuable contributions to keeping the population healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak – not least through the variety of digital offers and online training and coaching that operators have provided."

“These resources have become hugely popular, attracting millions of views. It shows that the public considers fitness as highly important.

"However, online fitness does not replace the experience available at gyms, clubs and studios and we want to reopen the facilities for our members – subject to all safety regulations."

• To learn more about DIFG's Health Needs Fitness campaign – and the five-point plan – click here for the dedicated website.

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The trade body for the German fitness sector, Deutscher Industrieverband für Fitness und Gesundheit (DIFG), has published a detailed road map for the reopening of the country's gyms, health clubs and fitness studios.

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