Sunday, 6 Dec 2020

Gyms are Covid safe and pose low risk of spreading virus while keeping them open has more health benefits, say experts

GYMS are Covid-19 safe and pose a low risk of spreading the deadly virus – while keeping them open has more health benefits, experts have said.

After analysing more than 62million gym visits in 14 European countries since September, the new report revealed that only 487 infections had been reported by operators.

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That's the equivalent of just 0.78 cases per 100,000 visits to the gym.

Academics at Sheffield Hallam University conducted the study to see the real risk posed by gyms and health clubs during the pandemic.

What they concluded was that gyms were "vital" to ensure communities can stay active during local or national lockdowns, and that they don't pose as much risk as once believed.

Experts are claiming that more access to gyms should be encouraged – in order to boost health and wellbeing.

The SafeACTiVE study was conducted by Sheffield Hallam University's Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, AWRC, along with King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain.

Director of the AWRC Professor Rob Copeland said: "Data from the SafeACTiVE study shows that gyms across the EU are safe places to exercise.

"The prevention of the further spread of Covid-19 has to be our primary objective but we also need to ensure that our communities are supported and have the opportunity to remain active.

'INCREASE ACCESS TO ACTIVITY'

"We know that being physically fit can help reduce the severity of Covid-19 infection and, moreover, being active can help us cope psychologically when faced with the challenges of a second wave of the pandemic across Europe.

"Keeping leisure centres and fitness clubs open and fully operational is critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities.

"I would go further and suggest that governments across Europe should be thinking about how we can increase access to activity, not reduce it, as we learn to live with Covid-19."

In the UK, Tier Three restrictions officially order the closure of gyms and leisure centres to curb the spread of coronavirus.

However, Liverpool and Lancashire, who are under the toughest restrictions, have avoided the rule, after arguing fitness centres are vital for their communities.

Earlier this month, cops slapped a Liverpool gym owner with a £1,000 fine after he refused to shut despite Tier 3 lockdown rules.

Defiant Nick Whitcombe said he wouldn't close Bodytech Fitness in Moreton because he fears he will never re-open again.

Professor Alfonso Jimenez, head of THINK Active at EuropeActive, said: "I am delighted to confirm such a low level of infection risk in fitness and health clubs.

"This reinforces the message that fitness and physical activity are a fundamental part of the solution during the Covid-19 pandemic in helping strengthen and improve immune functioning and lower risk of viral illness."

The report in its entirety is expected to be released in November.


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