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Canadians reluctant to return to gyms when they reopen

42 per cent of Canadians say they won't go back to the gym, even when it's deemed safe

As Canadians approach the reopening of gyms and fitness facilities, many are questioning whether they’ll go back. RunRepeat asked over 10,000 gym members if they plan on going back, and 42 per cent of Canadians have said they won’t. Of those Canadians, more than a third have already cancelled memberships, or say they’re planning to.

Pablo Espinosa on treadmill at Kondition gym
Pablo Espinosa on treadmill at Kondition gym. Photo: Facebook

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Other findings

The study says women are less likely than men to return to the gym, with 52 per cent saying they won’t compared to 45 per cent of men saying the same. It’s not that Canadians stopped exercising, it’s that they’re getting it done differently now.

How are Canadians exercising now?

COVID-19 has caused a running boom. Over the last 10 weeks, you might have noticed that your regular training route is a bit busier than usual. It seems like more and more people are getting out for runs, and while this might be thanks to the start of spring, it’s likely due to COVID-19 self-isolation and social distancing.  The Globe and Mail reports that since the coronavirus pandemic began, Canadians have been in search of personal fitness gear.

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The Canadians who once had gym memberships, attended spin classes and were contributing to the health and wellness industry have now found convenient ways to stay fit at home, which they’ve now become accustomed to. The Globe spoke with John Stanton, founder of the Running Room. Stanton took a guess (a conservative one, he said) and said online sales jumped at least 25 per cent in the first week of self-isolation.

Cycling is also increasing in popularity, with local bike shops seeing a surge in business. Mark Brouwer is the owner of Neworld Cycle in Burlington. He says for the first two months of their quarter, they were down by double digits, but in the last few weeks, things have significantly improved. Sales are up again, even despite doing curbside service.

Winter could change things

While Canadians are able to exercise outdoors right now, things may change in the winter months when running on the road isn’t an option every day. If you’re not a runner who owns a treadmill, you may reconsider your gym membership come the new year. However, for now, it looks like people will continue to stay fit outside or from the comfort of their homes.