Sure, family is everything. But when your immediate relatives are pitted against an hour of uninterrupted freedom and an alluring pair of dumbbells, there’s one obvious winner: the gym. According to new research conducted by Fitness Australia, more people miss working out than their families. Further, 59% of respondents selected going to their local fitness studio in their top three most missed activities during the 2020 lockdown in Australia, including the ongoing restrictions in VIC.  

“The yearning for a visit to the gym above all other activities, including seeing family members and socialising, highlights the vital role the gym plays in the life of so many people,” Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish said.  “The report also found the key goal for going to the gym was supporting and improving mental health with 83% of respondents rating this as a key goal.”  The survey – titled, ‘Consumer Impact of Gym Closures – Assessing the Essential Need for Gyms’ – included more than 14,400 gym members across the nation. The report found that the effect of closed gyms wasn't limited to just physical health, with mental and emotional wellbeing featuring strongly. According to the findings: 

  • 47% experienced weight gain.

  • 43% experienced muscle loss.

  • 40% saw their overall sense of wellbeing decrease.

  • 35% experienced increased stress and anxiety.

  • 16% experienced depression.

Further, gym-goers reported less vigorous exercise, with respondents concerned they weren’t meeting the Department of Health guidelines when it came to necessary levels of physical exertion.  “In addition to the financial benefits of getting gyms back to the ‘new normal’, the essential role exercise plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it will become more apparent as people start to get back to a regular routine and lifestyle,” My Elvish continued.  “Gyms and the broader fitness industry will have a vital role in ensuring the ongoing health and wellbeing of Australians in years to come, not just as we recover from COVID-19.” 

While it seems people didn't rate socialising with friends and family as high as the gym, there were greater opportunities to interact online during lockdown and satisfy that need. It just goes to show that there's no replacement for a good gym session! 


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