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ExerciseNZ cites growing evidence gyms and fitness clubs are safe
The Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ) has highlighted growing evidence from around the world that gyms and fitness clubs are safe places to be in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
ExerciseNZ has cited the recent case of a healthcare worker with Coronavirus who went to group fitness classes at the Les Mills Takapuna club in Auckland on 9th and 10th September Les Mills on consecutive days, but whose presence officially resulted in no new cases of COVID-19.
Overall, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health (MoH) identified 86 close contacts from the gym visits, with all those infected going into self-isolation and all subsequently returning negative COVID tests.
The instructors who took the classes have also tested negative for COVID-19.
Commenting on the success of COVIDSafe measures in gyms, ExerciseNZ Chief Executive, Richard Beddie advised “hundreds of gyms and exercise facilities in New Zealand are following the ExerciseNZ framework for keeping members safe at all times.
“ExerciseNZ developed the guidelines in conjunction with clinical protocol designer Kris Vette and had direct engagement with the World Health Organisation. The guidelines follows WorkSafe New Zealand principles and meets all the Ministry of Health level guidelines.
“This latest news from the MoH shows our framework works, even when there is low level community virus.
“With the right protocols, exercise is safe. That’s why it’s so important to ensure people visit a facility that follows the additional protocols which we recommend.
“We are working with the MoH to ensure not only do we keep everyone safe, but also we have a faster tracing system should a person with COVID take part in an exercise activity with others.
“Those people who called this latest case an outbreak or that gyms are high risk are wrong and I’d happily debate them on this as we can prove our framework is safe.”
In a study of more than 49.4 million visits to US gyms over three months, 0.0023% of visitors tested positive for the Coronavirus - more than 500 times less than the current estimated US national average and there is no evidence that any of the positive cases originated in gyms.
Beddie also cited figures that showed aquatic, fitness and sport facilities in England had more than 22 million attendances since between 25th July and 13th September – with UKactive’s latest data showing there have been 78 people with confirmed COVID-19 cases among those visits. The reported cases did not show specific transmission in a gym environment, only where a user with a subsequent positive result had attended a facility.
Phillip Mills, founder and Executive Director of Les Mills International, says gyms and health clubs are a cornerstone of the global recovery from COVID and should be given the necessary backing by governments.
Mills says a number of studies have highlighted the importance of exercise in the fight against the pandemic and that as well as providing a direct health benefit in the COVID fight, investing in exercise would, in the long-term, have a huge effect on the future of the economy.
Mills advised “as the world adjusts in the wake of this major health pandemic, with lessons learned and safer processes in place, it’s time for governments to recognise the vital role of exercise in society and take meaningful action to support them. Our recovery depends on it."
Images: Les Mills Takapuna (top), Richard Beddie (middle) and Phillip Mills (below).
19th October 2020 - Reopened fitness clubs see more than two-thirds of members return
25th September 2020 - Fitness Australia asserts there is no clear evidence gyms spread COVID-19
24th September 2020 - Aquatic, fitness and sport facilities headed for membership crisis
28th August 2020 - Inaugural live-streamed eworkshops to be delivered by Les Mills Asia Pacific
30th January 2020 - ExerciseNZ’s Beddie calls for New Zealanders to be more active in 2020
6th March 2018 - Exercise New Zealand partnership aims to improve fitness club safety
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