You are "extremely" unlikely to catch Covid-19 at the gym, study says
"Data from the SafeACTiVE study shows that gyms across the EU are safe places to exercise"
Gyms in Ireland have reopened this week - and when it comes to contracting Covid-19, one new study says your chances are very unlikely.
Scientists from Sheffield Hallam University found that gym goers are "extremely" unlikely to catch coronavirus while working out.
The research formed part of the SafeACTiVE study. It was commissioned by Europe Active, a large non-profit organisation representing gyms, leisure centres and health clubs across the continent.
Of the 62 million gym visits since September, the study found that the average infection rate across Europe is 0.78 per 100,000 visits.
Only 487 positive cases of coronavirus have been reported from gyms based in Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.
Professor Rob Copeland - Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University - said gyms are a safe place to train.
"Data from the SafeACTiVE study shows that gyms across the EU are safe places to exercise," Copeland said.
"The prevention of the further spread of Covid-19 has to be our primary objective but we also need to ensure that our communities are supported and have the opportunity to remain active. We know that being physically fit can help reduce the severity of Covid-19 infection and, moreover, being active can help us cope psychologically when faced with the challenges of a second wave of the pandemic across Europe.
"Keeping leisure centres and fitness clubs open and fully operational is critical to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities. I would go further and suggest that governments across Europe should be thinking about how we can increase access to activity, not reduce it, as we learn to live with Covid-19."
Scientists believe the study provides a strong argument for keeping gyms and health clubs open during any future outbreaks of infectious disease.