COVID-19 Infection Rate at European Gyms Is Low, per Report

A report evaluating data from two studies of health clubs in Europe found an average COVID-19 infection rate of 1.12 per 100,000 visits.(Photo by recep-bg/iStock/Getty Images Plus.)

The average COVID-19 infection rate at health clubs in Europe is 1.12 per 100,000 visits, according to the ThinkActive report released this week.

The ThinkActive report is based on data collected by a SafeActive study as well as data collected by the ukactive Research Institute over a six-month period. Preliminary results of the SafeActive study were released in November. That study noted an infection rate of 0.78 per 100,000 visits based on 62 million health club visits.

The ThinkActive report collected self-reported data on more than 115 million visits to 4,360 health clubs in in Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. Of those visits, there were 1,288 positive cases of COVID-19 reported (1,092 from members and 196 from club staff).

The report was commissioned by EuropeActive's Research Centre THINK Active and was conducted by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom and King Juan Carlos University in Spain.

"Building on previous studies, the findings paint a positive picture with low numbers of reported cases across European operators. We also highlight the need to continue to find ways to ensure that fitness clubs and leisure facilities are accessible to all and this should continue to be the primary focus of the sector as it plays a key role in the recovery from Covid-19," Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University Prof. Rob Copeland said in a media release.

The data shows a stable flat trend on reported cases at fitness clubs and leisure centers independently of the evolution of the pandemic across each of the 14 countries included in the sample, taking into consideration the collective pandemic situation in these countries or the particular situation in each of them, according to Prof. Alfonso Jimenez, head of THINK Active.

The flat trend was especially relevant when the second wave of infections hit all over Europe, he added.

“Keeping people active is essential during the pandemic, especially in light of data suggesting that regular physical activity has a positive impact on immune function and in helping to protect our body from viral infections," Jimenez said.

More details on the methodology and results are available in the free downloadable report.

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