7 Lessons Gyms and Fitness Centers Learned From 2020
This year has been filled with unanticipated challenges. While all businesses have been forced to adapt and find ways to stay open, you all know that gyms are one of the businesses hit the hardest. As this industry has been pushed to its limits, it hasn’t broken. Instead, many lessons have come to the surface that may bring gyms more respect and help your gym move forward into a new era.
1. Health Is Key to Fighting Illness
It’s important to weigh out pros and cons. Rather than over-focusing on exposure to germs in a gym, we can look at how people benefit from the healthy habits a gym promotes. Healthy habits like good nutrition and exercise boost immunity and help the body fight off illness. Gyms are integral to a healthy lifestyle for many people, giving them the health boosts that protect them against germs. Exercise can even prevent or treat some of the health conditions that make someone high-risk for severity or complications of coronavirus, such as type 2 diabetes or obesity.
2. Gyms Should Be an Essential Business
Society saw many consequences of gyms closing or otherwise being restricted by coronavirus guidelines. Without the gym, people can lose exercise routines, social interaction, lack mental health support, and so on. Gyms provide a broad range of physical, emotional, mental, and social health benefits that make them essential to people, rather than the “leisure” category they tend to be placed in.
3. Cleanliness Matters in Your Gym
Of course, cleanliness has always been important for minimizing the spread of germs. Now, we see just how important it is to sanitize the gym, to encourage members and staff to follow cleanliness practices, and to make the gym’s cleanliness practices known. Going forward, members will be wary to return to your gym unless they feel sure of how well you are decontaminating surfaces and minimizing germ spread.
4. Gyms Can Adapt
This year showed that gyms and their communities are capable of adapting to changing times. We saw gyms tap into an audience exercising from home, and gyms adapted to coronavirus restrictions by opening with reduced capacity, indoor social distancing, and other methods. Gyms are strong communities that can shift to the needs of a situation and find ways to thrive.
5. Gyms Need an Inclusive Environment
This year also highlighted the need for all businesses, including gyms, to make sure they have an inclusive environment for staff and members. It’s important to assess the current state of your gym’s environment, processes, hiring practices, marketing, and other areas–ideally with the help of a third party–and to make any adjustments necessary to improve inclusivity at your gym.
6. Exercise Is Important to Mental Health
As people weren’t able to visit the gym for their regular fitness routines, it became clear that the consequences extended beyond physical health. People gain mental health benefits from exercise and from having a place for “me time,” time away from home, socializing, accountability, motivation, and other mental health benefits the gym offers.
7. Gyms Are Better Together
While normal times may involve competing against other gyms, the current year showed that gyms are stronger and better when they work together. This year has shown that it’s important to find common ground and to work together as one industry. Bringing voices together can help gyms gain respect and government benefits as essential businesses that promote health and wellness. Also, each gym can learn from the experiences and lessons of other gyms to improve their own business.
While 2020 has been particularly challenging, it has highlighted lessons we can learn and areas for improvement. Has your gym learned lessons that will help you be better moving forward?