As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) — a global leader and advocate in the health and fitness industry — points to recent research out of Norway that found no spread of COVID-19 associated with reopening fitness centers. Meredith Poppler, vice president of communications and leadership engagement for IHRSA, summarized the findings in a June 29, 2020 editorial:
The [University of Oslo] study included 3,764 fitness club members, ages 18 to 64, with no known risk factors for severe COVID-19. Participants were randomized to have access to one of five reopened fitness centers in Oslo, Norway, or to have no access to a fitness center (control group). Participants submitted a COVID-19 test after two weeks.
Throughout the study, 81.8 percent of people used the gym at least once, and 38.5 percent at least six times. In the end, researchers found no cases of COVID-19 related to the fitness center. There was one case in the training group, but it’s believed the exposure was likely at work, and no cases during the trial were related to that case.
While more research is needed (and this research must still undergo the peer-review process), this study provides some cause of optimism that the social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation policies implemented at fitness centers that have been allowed to open are effective in areas where community transmission is low. Thus, gyms may pose little to no additional risk for COVID-19 transmission compared to other public places.
As a member of IHRSA, and in adhering to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ASHRAE, Life Time is committed to following the recommended safety measures and protocols to keep our members and team members safe in our spaces as we continue to reopen and operate around the country. For a full overview of the comprehensive approach we’re taking, visit lifetime.life/safety. For more on Life Time’s HVAC systems, check out this article.