COVID-19 reveals how much people value the gym experience

It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people realise how important being a member of fitness club is.

A new report has looked into how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected gym-goers and shed some light on how much they value their fitness.

Published by global fitness association IHRSA, the COVID Era Fitness Consumer report is based on a study of American health club members.

Aiming to provide insight into how health club users felt and behaved about the COVID-19 pandemic, the report looked at the perspectives of members returning to their fitness facilities, changes in fitness activity, how personal goals changed and consumer confidence in facilities’ safety protocols.

The report surveyed people aged 18+ in the United States with gym memberships (or those who had to cancel their memberships due to COVID. The survey itself was conducted by market research company Kelton.

“The data confirms the essential role health clubs play in promoting and maintaining the well-being of consumer,” said Jay Ablondi, Executive Vice President for Global Products at IHRSA.

“Seventy per cent of members rely on their health clubs to maintain overall health, while 30% use their health and fitness centres to help build their immune system. More than one-third miss the community aspect of belonging to a health club. Clearly, there’s no replacement for health clubs or gyms.”

Although based on international data, this research seems to largely resonate here in Australia as well.

Key points from the report include:

What people miss about the gym

95% of club users say they miss at least one aspect of going to the gym

42% miss working out with other people; 26% miss having people at the gym encourage them through a workout

36% miss the sense of community gyms provides

When surveyed about favourite activities, 59% of people mentioned missing the gym —

second only to missing loved ones (65%)

Dissatisfaction with other options

50% of gym-goers are dissatisfied with their new (non-gym) fitness routines.

51% of people say they are unable to get the same variety of workouts at home; 54% say they have limited equipment at home.

48% of people said they have had a harder time finding motivation to exercise during the pandemic, both in places where gyms have reopened and where they haven’t.

Stress and mental health

53% of people who have returned to the gym, where possible, say one of their goals in having a gym membership is to elevate their mood

63% of fitness club users say they feel more stressed now than at the start of 2020

68% of those who cancelled their memberships due to COVID reported feeling more stressed

65% of people said they use exercise to cope with stress

As gyms reopen with COVID-19 restrictions in place, this data shows just how important fitness facilities are to their members. Members cannot wait to get back to their regular fitness routines.

You can download the report here.

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