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Only 30 per cent of gym goers have returned post-lockdown, study finds

A recent survey found that the vast majority of people have yet to go back to their gyms since they reopened

woman in gym doing pistol squat

Bad news for gym owners: a recent study conducted by RunRepeat, a website that runs surveys on the state of running and fitness in North America and the world, found that just 30.98 per cent of people have returned to gyms since they reopened earlier this summer. A staggering number of people have already cancelled their gym memberships, and it looks like many who still own memberships have said they don’t plan on returning any time soon. The survey looked at several countries, including Canada and the U.S., and showed which citizens have been more willing to make reappearances at their gyms since their governments deemed it safe to do so. Spoiler alert: even the country with the most relaxed gym goers saw low levels of interest in returning. 

Then versus now

This survey is a followup to one that RunRepeat conducted in May, before gyms had reopened, which posed similar questions to close to 11,000 people. Back then, almost four months ago, 42 per cent of Canadians said they didn’t plan on returning to their gyms when they reopened. In late July, gyms opened their doors once again across the country, and since then, even more Canadians haven’t returned than the original survey forecast. RunRepeat found that 69.23 per cent of Canadians who went to the gym before COVID-19 have yet to return.

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The U.S., U.K. and the rest of the world have similar numbers, all hovering at or just below a 70 per cent non-return rate. Only Australia has seen the majority of gym goers go back to work out, and even their numbers are much lower than what gym owners want to see right now, sitting at just 52 per cent. 

As for cancellations, in the May survey, about 62 per cent of Canadians said they were sure they would keep their gym memberships and reuse them after the pandemic. The other respondents were split between those considering a cancellation (24 per cent) and those who had already cancelled their memberships (14 per cent). Today, only 39 per cent of Canadians can say with complete certainty that they don’t plan on quitting the gym. Another 39 per cent are undecided, and the rest have already cancelled. 

RELATED: Exercise rates on the rise during COVID-19

Reasons for these stats

One reason for these numbers could be due to the running boom that has rocked Canada and the rest of the world since the start of the pandemic. With gyms and other athletic facilities shut down, running was the most accessible way to exercise for pretty much everyone worldwide. The world also saw many people buying their own fitness supplies (weights, bands, treadmills, etc), and now a lot of people have their own makeshift home gyms. After four months without being able to go to the gym, a lot of the world has realized that they don’t actually need it to keep fit and active. 

Another explanation for these numbers could be the fear surrounding COVID-19. The pandemic is far from over, and while the world is slowly returning to some sense of normalcy, not everyone is ready to do so just yet. Gyms may be open to the public, but that doesn’t mean their members want to return and risk getting sick, no matter how many safety precautions are being taken at gyms around the country and world. 

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