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COVID-19’s effects on gyms – they never had to close their doors

We all know that the world has changed and it will never go back to what it was before COVID-19. I know that we are also very tired of it and wouldn’t really want to speak about it all-the-time. But we kind of have to – it affects us all every single day.

I am an enthusiastic athlete who likes to try out new sports and who spends a lot of time at the gym (except now), and the past year has been a huge change. This is actually how I got interested in how the corona restrictions have affected gyms’ businesses here in Finland. I personally haven’t gone to the gym in a while now. I’m really not scared of what it can do to me, but the fact that I can give it to others who are more vulnerable matters to me.

I am writing my master’s thesis about the corona restrictions’ effects on gyms. What I’m mostly interested in are the customer base and the flow, and how they have handled it all at this unsure time. Restaurants and many other businesses have had to close up their places but the gyms have been open the whole time. It mostly has been up to gyms on whether to be open or closed and obviously, many of them have stayed open. Why is that? While you would think that the gyms have bad hygiene, very few of the corona cases have been recorded at a gym. People are still afraid to use them and many customers have put their contract on hold or fully cancelled it.  But even though the gyms have been open, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t had any problems or changes. I want to interview different gyms, big and small, so I can compare. I need to see if the customer base has gone down, how are they managing the positive and/or negative effects, and what kind of changes they have made because of all this.

As of now, there aren’t any other researches about this exact same topic. It makes it more fascinating but also challenging to me. I cannot compare or get any ideas or answers from older researches or interviews. Yikes! However, I think it’s vital for everyone to stay active at this time. I want to encourage people (especially every reader of this post) to it even though it can be harder without normal social interaction.

Go outside and enjoy the warmer spring weather!

Sandra Soutolahti
MSc. in Business Development
University of Vaasa

3 kommenttia artikkeliin “COVID-19’s effects on gyms – they never had to close their doors

  1. Your research focus is timely and interesting.

    As the saying goes, time heal all wounds, the COVID-19 situation will pass away with time and things will return to normal. Who could have imagined that the world will overcome the various historical pandemics such as the 1817: First Cholera Pandemic,1855: The Third Plague Pandemic,1875: Fiji Measles Pandemic,1889: Russian Flu,1918: Spanish Flu. I think we all should be optimistic rather than pessimistic about life returning to normal as this will invariably not only give some measure of hope to many, but also save many from depression. Glad to also learn that people can use the gym in Finland and that the covid-19 incident from such decision has not been much, and for those who prefer not to, I think they could resort to calisthenics to boost their immune system at least for the time being.

    All the best with your thesis!

  2. Your master thesis sounds very interesting and topical.

    From your signature I can see you are a master student in business development. Something I think would be interesting to read about is what kind of new products or services the gyms have developed during the covid19-time. I have seen some gyms to rent out their equipment and provide virtual classes.

    Best of luck with your thesis!

  3. Interesting topic!

    I stop exercising in gym in the beginning of march 2020 due to the new of corona virus. I still paid my monthly bill to my gym, hoping to go back, until it quit it on april 2021. During this 13 month period, I went to the gym less than 10 times.

    I was afraid. Even there were no bad news from gyms. And I wanted still pay, to stay as a customer and maybe help the company survive. I hope others did this too.

    I asked on autumn from my gym to publish information how many people there is on average on each day and time – I was trying to find safe slot for me. They gave some very general information, accordingly I chose my time to energise, but, there were too many pwople on my point of view.

    So I would prefer, even after the COVID-19 pandemic, that my gym would provide statistics of gym usage. I would even pay some euros monthly, if that would be included in the membership of the gym.

    Best wishes for your work!

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