Groundbreaking research indicates gyms pose no additional risk of catching COVID-19
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Everyone Active
Competitive rates of pay
South Oxhey Leisure Centre, Watford
star job
Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure Ltd
£24,303pa + annual performance reward + benefits
Ilford, London
University of Bath
£19,209 - £20,092 + 10% shift allowance + benefits
Bath
Lake District National Park
c£20,500pa + pension + great benefits
Brockhole on Windermere, Lake District
Latymer Upper School
£22,000pa
Hammersmith, London

Groundbreaking research indicates gyms pose no additional risk of catching COVID-19

Job opportunities
Coach Gyms
Self Employed
location: Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
more jobs

A large-scale academic study has concluded that there is "no threat of increased COVID-19 spread" at fitness facilities, even when intensive training takes place.

A team of researchers at the University of Oslo, led by professor Michael Bretthauer, investigated SARS-CoV-2 transmission (the virus responsible for COVID-19) – and whether it was attributable to gyms.

"Our trial showed no virus transmission or increase in COVID-19 disease that was related to the opening of gym facilities," said Bretthauer.

The research – the first of its kind in Europe – studied 3,764 members of the public, aged between 18 and 64 years, who had no COVID-19 relevant comorbidities.

Roughly half (1,896) of the people were given access to visit the gyms, while the other half (1,868) – a control group – were not.

The former were given access to five gyms – SATS Sjølyst and CC Vest (two health clubs owned by Nordic fitness giant SATS), STOLT Stovner and Rommen (both operated by gym chain STOLT Trening), and EVO Bryn (a gym owned and operated by EVO Fitness Group).

Facilities were opened from 22 May 2020 specifically for the study – while Norway was still in lockdown – and activities available at the gyms included services the clubs would normally provide, from gym floors to group classes (including spinning and yoga).

Those visiting a gym had to adhere to the virus prevention guidelines drawn up by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

These included social distancing (one meter for floor exercise, two meters for high-intensity classes) as well as enhanced hand and surface hygiene, while all workout stations were supplied with disinfectants in order for them to be cleaned after each use by the member.

Gym staff also controlled access to the gyms, to ensure distance measures and avoid overcrowding. Locker rooms were open, but showers and saunas were closed.

The research team then tested each person for SARS-CoV-2 by self-administered naso-, oropharyngeal and sputum sampling after two weeks – and clinical disease by linkage to electronic patient records after three weeks.

In the group that trained at a gym, 81.8 per cent trained at least once and 38.5 per cent visited a gym six times or more, with the remainder ranging between these two measures.

Out of 3,016 individuals who returned the SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests, there was one positive test, but while the positive individual was part of the "gym group", they had not visited the gym before the positive test and contact tracing found that they had actually been infected in their workplace.

During the three-week study, there were no outpatient visits or hospital admissions due to COVID-19 in either group.

In addition, out of 91 employees who worked at the training facilities during the trial period and agreed to provide data, 83 (91.2 per cent) were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and none were positive.

In its conclusion, the researches stated: "Our trial showed no virus transmission or increase in COVID-19 disease related to the opening of gym facilities, providing good hygiene and social distancing routines were in place.

"By emergency law, all training facilities were closed in Norway during the pandemic. The closure was reasoned by the assumption that training activity at the facilities would increase the risk of virus transmission between members of the facilities and thus COVID-19 disease among members, staff and the community.

"However, basic hand hygiene and social distancing measures – by securing 1 to 2 meters distance between individuals – are well-proven and important virus transmission protection measures. They are inexpensive, easy to apply, and do not require large resources.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, countries introduced closures of important societal activities because it was assumed that the simple measures would not be enough to contain virus transmission.

"However, if virus containment, including contact tracing and quarantine, hand hygiene and personal social distancing measures are sufficient to prevent virus spread, closures could be avoided and thus harms reduced.

"Our trial sought to test if the closure of gyms is needed, or if open facilities can provide enough hygiene and social distancing to prevent virus spread.

"If hygiene and distancing measures could be achieved, we assumed it would be safe to open gyms and training facilities.

"As our results show, there was no increase in COVID-related disease due to the opening of gyms and training facilities."

• To download and read the full study, which is awaiting peer review, titled Randomized Re-Opening of Training Facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic – click here.

MedRxiv, which has published the paper as a preliminary report, recommends as a matter of protocol that no clinical decisions are based on research until after it has been peer-reviewed.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
A large-scale academic study has concluded that there is "no threat of increased COVID- 19 spread" at fitness facilities, even when intensive training takes place.
SAR,HAF,FIT,IND,PTS,ACD,RES,PUB
2020/THUMB345783_271106_127116.jpg

More News

1 - 15 of 43,664
26 May 2022
The Leisure Database Company (TLDB) has revealed its State of the Fitness Industry Report UK for 2022, following an audit of more than 7,000 facilities ... More
26 May 2022
A major free exhibition on the treatment and understanding of cancer has opened at the Science Museum in London, UK. Described as a "world-first", the ... More
25 May 2022
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during the company’s recent Capital Markets Day. The event was led ... More
23 May 2022
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to help girls embrace activity during puberty and reduce the rising ... More
21 May 2022
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as an example of best practice for public–private partnership collaboration (PPP). ... More
19 May 2022
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched its first product, the Ness Rewards app, with longer-term plans ... More
Fitness On Demand
Fitness On Demand
19 May 2022
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new initiative called F45 After, which offers US military personnel exclusive ... More
19 May 2022
Scruffy Dog Creative Group and Simtec Systems have partnered to launch a new immersive trackless dark ride featuring the popular Mattel IP, Fisher-Price. The ride's ... More
18 May 2022
Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its Stay Fit Private Fitness programme. The exercise spaces are located ... More
17 May 2022
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability Green, Luton. According to the BBC, police were called to ... More
17 May 2022
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ft (280sq m) micro-gym, run by franchisee Liz Benjamin, will ... More
16 May 2022
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We Splash? to encourage more parents to take children swimming. The ... More
Les Mills
Les Mills
13 May 2022
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday 21 May. The community-focused development is the result of a ... More
11 May 2022
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board of directors at Hussle. Tegelaars founded the Cannons Group in ... More
11 May 2022
Planet Fitness saw its Q1 2022 revenue increase by 66.9 per cent (to US$186.7m) on 2021 – the latest sign that the US fitness market ... More
1 - 15 of 43,664
JP Lennard
JP Lennard