02 Dec 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2020 issue 7

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Leisure Management - Challenges and opportunities

Editor's letter

Challenges and opportunities

Lockdown was tough, but reopening has brought a new raft of challenges and opportunities, as gyms fight to be seen as powerful delivery partners in the fight against COVID-19, while also being safe for consumers

Liz Terry, Leisure Media
The fight is on to be seen as part of the solution Les mills/world united

The vast majority of gyms around the world are reopening and our attention is turning to the next stage of recovery – re-engaging members, winning new customers and proving our worth.

On page 20 we highlight World United, a free global campaign – designed in the spirit of collaboration – to support the gym sector in celebrating and reconnecting.

World United kicks off from 19 September, linking with campaigns such as National Fitness Day in the UK. You can find free marketing resources on the dedicated website.

Fitness remains firmly in the spotlight in the fight against COVID-19, but although there’s an appreciation among governments and consumers that being fit is the best defence against the virus and a great support when it comes to recovery, we still have work to do in connecting this fact with gyms as a delivery partner.

The UK government, for example, launched a campaign to combat obesity to help with COVID-19, but has failed to engage with the gym sector in delivery.

It’s frustrating we should still be fighting this battle, given the evidence, but that’s the reality we face and on page 46, Phillip Mills, executive director of Les Mills, makes the case for gyms, in the context of the pandemic and beyond.

Gyms have the opportunity to offer COVID-19 recovery programmes and on page 32, we talk through ways these can be delivered. With millions suffering, we have the chance to make a real difference.

We’re in a battle to prove gyms don’t contribute to the spread of the virus. Doing so is vital to staying open and winning back members who are wavering.

Trade associations around the world are fighting back against accusations gyms are spreader environments and collaborating with operator members to gather insight.

Both Fitness Australia and IHRSA have recently published studies which show clearly that gyms are safe, with Fitness Australia finding zero community transmissions after monitoring 6.26m member check-ins across 423 gyms over several months.

As engagement efforts pay off and gyms get busier, we must keep delivering safe environments reliably and new evidence may be pointing at ways to enable this.

A study from the University of Eindhoven found having air purifiers in gyms – in addition to air conditioning – gave extra control over levels of viral aerosols.

As numbers grow in gyms, having this kind of knowledge and evidence will be ever more vital if we are to stay one step ahead of the virus and continue to convince decision-makers that we are part of the solution.

Liz Terry, HCM editor

Originally published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 7

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