Fitness news: It's safe to go back to the gym, according to this huge US study

A US study of nearly 3,000 gyms shows fitness fans it's safe to go back to the gym again

Fitness gym
(Image credit: Foto Garage (Unsplash))

Since the early parts of this year, fitness fans all over the world have transformed how they work out after COVID-19 left shared public indoor spaces unsafe for use. Many took up running, or working out in parks over the summer, while others stayed indoors and bought adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands

However, for people in the US who are looking to get back to the way things were, there's some good news: A huge study on US health clubs confirms things are largely coronavirus-safe. 

MXM, a technology and knowledge transfer company specializing in track-and-trace operations within the fitness industry, has conducted a survey of 2,873 gyms, sports clubs and health clubs across the US with the International Health Club, Racquet and Sports Association (IHRSA). 

The study reports the following: "After nearly 50 million check-ins over that three-month period, the study found that a nominal 0.0023 percent tested positive for COVID-19".

The data comes from the check-in information provided at front desks, as well as employees. Over the course of the study, fitness centers provided their total check-ins and number of locations across the US, and the total number of these check-ins that since tested positive for COVID-19. 

Gyms social distancing

(Image credit: Danielle Cerullo (Unsplash))

Brent Darden, IHRSA interim President and CEO, said: "The check-in data proves that health clubs – when following strict cleaning and safety protocols – are safe.

"The data shows that, with proper sanitization protocols in place, people can safely return to their workout routines."

Safety protocols implemented at health and fitness facilities include mandatory social distancing, with some gyms marking out safe "zones" on the floor for individuals to exercise in. Others include regularly sanitising equipment like weights, mats and exercise machines, and limiting the amount of people allowed in the gym at any one time. 

Not been back to the gym yet? We can provide a rare window into what a post-coronavirus gym session is actually like. Our writer went back to the gym to find out exactly how much has changed, from the number of people allowed in a class to the equipment sanitation methods being implemented between sessions.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.