A new, Europe-wide initiative will look to chart the level of risk of COVID-19 infection at gyms, health clubs and leisure centres across the continent.
Conducted in partnership by the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and the King Juan Carlos University in Spain, the SafeACTiVE Study will assess the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in fitness facilities and compare them to the number of visits to facilities.
Commissioned by EuropeActive, the study aims to draw an accurate picture of the real risk of infection and address concerns by the public, who might still be reluctant to go to a fitness club due to a perceived risk.
The primary research method will be a survey conducted among European fitness operators. Those taking part will be asked to provide information on total weekly visits since reopening on a week-by-week basis, using the data provided by their access/membership systems.
"The SafeACTiVE research project will map COVID-19 risk in fitness and leisure facilities across Europe and will be the most credible and ambitious study of its kind so far," said EuropeActive executive director Andreas Paulsen.
"It will also provide our national association partners and other stakeholders across Europe with an important argument for the responsibility and safety of our sector.
"I'd like to thank the generous support of Exerp, ExorLive, Life Fitness, Matrix, Myzone and Technogym, who have made the SafeACTiVE Study possible."
The study follows a similar data-gathering exercise conducted by industry body ukactive
, based on 1,500 facilities in England.
It showed that there were 22 million visits to fitness facilities during the two months following reopening, with the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 visits logged as 0.34.