Fitness Centers are safe and essential to combat Michigan's health crisis

Posted at 8:58 AM, Jul 30, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — A recent survey by the California Fitness Alliance (CFA) indicates that that since reopening on June 12, its members report no cases of COVID-19 have been traced to California fitness centers. CFA surveyed 150 fitness operators, representing 785 locations, to demonstrate the implementation of its cleaning guidelines and safety protocols have kept its communities safe while providing an essential service to its members and vital jobs to its employees. Of more than 5.5 million check-ins, only .002%, or 1 in every 50,000, of those members tested positive for COVID-19, with no cases reported as a result of going to the gym.

Other large national fitness chains are reporting similar results, with one of the nation’s largest operators reporting only 1 in every 135,000 check-ins or 0.000741% positive COVID-19 cases since re-opening facilities throughout the US (reported May 22, 2020 to July 21, 2020).

“We absolutely support Governor Whitmer in doing our part to flatten the curve, but gyms are not spreading the virus,” said Alyssa Tushman, Vice Chair of the Michigan Fitness Club Association (MFCA). “We are facing a physical and mental health crisis here in Michigan and exercise is essential in our efforts to combat this pandemic.”

MFCA members are committed to following re-opening guidelines to protect and prevent the spread of COVID19. Fitness operators, large and small, are prepared to meet or exceed strict safety standards directed by state and public health officials. Several MFCA board members were on the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) workgroup that established the Re-Opening Guidelines for Gyms in Michigan.

“Our #1 priority is to protect our staff and members and to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Tushman. “That is why we are committed to enforcing new rules that require members to wear masks, work out at least 6 feet apart, wash their hands before exercising and wipe down equipment before and after each use. This is in addition to rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, reorganizing equipment and workout areas to accommodate for social distancing, and new touchless check-in procedures.”

One in five Americans experiences a mental health issue and physical fitness can be a critical way to combat these issues according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Additionally, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – responsible for 840,768 deaths in 2016 and an annual total cost estimated at $351.2 billion in 2014-2015. The leading causes of cardiovascular disease are obesity, high blood pressure and lack of physical activity. Forty-seven percent of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Now more than ever, Michiganders need routine and healthy ways to help manage weight gain, anxiety, depression and the isolation caused by this pandemic.

“Physical activity has declined Forty-eight (48%) percent since the pandemic began,” said Tushman. And with Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert Redfield lamenting Americans having medical complications and worse outcomes from Covid-19 specifically because of obesity relative to other nations, “the Quarantine 15 is no laughing matter. The communities established within fitness clubs help people maintain motivation for their physical fitness.”

About the Michigan Fitness Club Association

The Michigan Fitness Club Association represents health clubs, boutiques, studios, fitness professionals, manufactures and suppliers throughout Michigan. We serve as a collective voice for the fitness industry and serve as strong advocates at all levels of government to protect and foster growth, and educate elected officials regarding the benefits of regular exercise.

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