Yes, Gyms Are Essential Businesses

As COVID-19 retains its grip on society, some communities are considering rolling back guidelines for businesses that can remain open—and more might consider it as the cold weather approaches. While every region is different, in some cases gyms might be caught in the middle and forced to close. But that’s a shortsighted approach, given the many benefits that come from gym memberships.

Gyms and fitness clubs have been hit hard with shutdowns when our members and communities need strength and wellness the most.

Now is the time to make your voice heard about why your gym is an essential business. Here are three proof points to share with your members, your community and local officials.

Gyms can easily abide by safety protocols.

1. Gyms can easily abide by safety protocols.

Masks…check. Social distancing…check. Enhanced sanitation…check. Gyms are prioritizing efforts to follow regulations or recommendations that will create a safer atmosphere.

For example, members can wear masks while coming and going…just as they do at restaurants, and gyms can conduct temperature checks at the front desk.  Staff can step up their disinfection procedures and ask patrons to do their part by washing hands before and after exercise and wiping down machines and equipment. The floor space and group exercise classes can easily be reconfigured to meet social distancing guidelines.

Importantly, gyms can easily conduct contact tracing if a member becomes infected, through tracking check-in times or reservations.

With a committed membership, gyms are in a better position than most other public stores or services to keep safety first.

Gyms promote health and make people less susceptible to COVID-19.

2. Gyms promote health and make people less susceptible to COVID-19.

Exercise provides vital health benefits, including building a stronger immune system and helping keep your body weight in check, both of which have can lower your risk of complications from COVID-19.

The CDC states that having obesity or being overweight increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In fact, a recent study of the effects of COVID on patients find that overweight patients were 40% more likely to die than healthy-weight patients.

Numerous medical organizations recommend exercising regularly to help strengthen the immune system and ward off conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer that may then become the “underlying conditions” that can worsen COVID-19.

Gyms provide a sense of community which is important for both mental and physical health.

3. Gyms provide a sense of community which is important for both mental and physical health.

Naturally it’s possible for people to exercise at home, but that’s not feasible for many who lack available space or equipment to do so effectively. Many exercisers find it challenging to stick to a solo routine, preferring the camaraderie and support that comes with working out at a fitness club.

Working out on your own also makes you more susceptible to injuries and muscle damage caused by poor form or inappropriate exercises for your body type and fitness level. When you’re in a gym, professional fitness advisers are at the ready to make sure you are doing movements correctly to avoid strain. In addition, they can suggest routines or individual exercises customized to your particular body type and need.

Finally, one of the most severely negative byproducts of the coronavirus has been an epidemic of loneliness, as people stay home and conduct all their business and leisure activities by themselves or remotely. In fact, more than 40% of adults have reported struggling with mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, during the pandemic, according to a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Coming to the gym provides an important social outlet and sense of “normalcy” that we are lacking in today’s world as all of our routines have been upended.

Maintaining gyms as an essential business is an important step in combatting these ill effects and moving toward a community that’s healthier, both physically and mentally.