12 Apr 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2020 issue 11

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Leisure Management - 2020 gamechangers


2020 gamechangers

This was a year when research helped transformed the gym sector into a serious political force. Two pieces of work stand out in terms of timely impact

A team at Oslo University found no COVID-19 transmission, even when intensive training was taking place shutterstock/jacob lund

In April, Professor Zhen Yan at the University of Virginia found regular exercise may reduce the risk of complications in people with COVID-19, as well as offering the potential for alternative treatment approaches.

He studied an antioxidant called extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD) that’s released in the body during exercise.

His work “strongly supports” the possibility that higher levels of EcSOD in the body can prevent or at least reduce the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – one of the worst outcomes of COVID-19. EcSOD does this by hunting down free radicals, binding to organs and protecting tissue.

Gyms are safe
In June, research published exclusively by HCM indicated gyms pose no additional risk of catching COVID-19.

The story was picked up by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The large-scale academic study concluded that there is “no threat of increased COVID-19 spread” at fitness facilities, even when intensive training takes place.

A team of researchers at the University of Oslo, led by professor Michael Bretthauer, investigated SARS-CoV-2 transmission and whether it was attributable to gyms.

“Our trial showed no virus transmission or increase in COVID-19 that was related to the opening of gyms,” said Bretthauer.

The research – the first of its kind in Europe – studied 3,764 members of the public, aged between 18- and 64-years, who had no COVID-19 relevant comorbidities.

The research team then tested each person for SARS-CoV-2 by self-administered naso, oropharyngeal and sputum sampling after two weeks – and clinical disease by linkage to electronic patient records after three weeks.

In the group that trained at a gym, 81.8 per cent trained at least once and 38.5 per cent visited a gym six times or more, with the remainder ranging between these two measures.

Out of 3,016 individuals who returned the SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests, there was one positive test, but while the positive individual was part of the “gym group”, they had not visited the gym before the positive test and contact tracing found that they had actually been infected in their workplace.

During the three-week study, there were no outpatient visits or hospital admissions due to COVID-19 in either group.

Find out more about both piece of research at HCMmag.com

Originally published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 11

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