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‘Training the best shield against epidemics’

GIFs of sweaty bundles of muscles, people who have the leg press prefer it over the barber’s chair and other heart cries of athletes circulate on social media. It is therefore high time that the gyms open again, many sports enthusiasts think. Because let’s be honest: sitting inside and doing nothing does not make most people very happy. And of course you can work out at home with the help of YouTube videos, or go for a round of the park, but for many the motivation is very hard to find.

A large majority therefore expects that the Dutch will become fitter (92.6 percent) and happier (89.3 percent) when the gyms reopen. Eight in ten respondents are even concerned about the mental health of people in the lockdown.

This and more is shown by research commissioned by the NL Actief trade association. The research is in line with a major national campaign from the industry this week, highlighting the importance of sports in gyms.

National action: #wewillenweer

The trade association NL Actief decided to conduct the investigation after gyms received literally thousands of calls and statements of support from members eager to exercise. Despite the lockdown, the majority of the members decided to support their gym, or to immediately go back to sports if they opened (97 percent).

The Dutch fitness industry is happy with this support. NL Actief is therefore starting a campaign focusing on the importance of sports in gyms. Various activations are set up under the hashtags #wewillenweer #sportscholenopen. NL Active director Ronald Wouters: “We are asking the government to partially open the gyms, as was the case before December 15th. So with control over the number of people, a good spread and a good air purification system.

Shield against pandemic

For many respondents, the sports school is a place to clear their heads (75.3 percent). Many people miss the motivation to exercise (73 percent), the social aspect (66 percent) and / or the right fitness equipment (70 percent) to exercise at home during the closure.

Gym owner Arie Boomsma, who also had a great time during the lockdown in and around his house with chair to toilet rolls, as he regularly showed on social media, finds it unwise that the government always closes the gyms during lockdowns. “These are the places where people work on their health and thus their resistance to the virus. The pressure on care is actually increased by all physical and mental ailments as a result of lack of movement, winter dips and the lack of perspective, ”he says. “Exercise and exercise are the best shield against epidemics such as Covid-19 and obesity. Gyms play an indispensable role in society in a social, physical and mental area, as this research shows. ”


Nine in ten survey respondents believe that gyms are important to public health and that they play a positive role in people’s mental and physical health, the study found. The majority (54 percent) think it is strange that they are closed, while the Dutch are expected to work on their health.

According to NL Actief director Wouters, gyms are essential and sports are just as important as your daily bread and education. “Sport is not recreation, but an important factor for public health. Now more than ever. Sport and exercise should therefore be part of our essential service provision, just as it was recently implemented in Spain, ”says Wouters. “That is why I started a citizens’ initiative in the Netherlands to get this done, so that we can always maintain our mental and physical health.”

Extremely low contamination level

When the gyms reopen, they can get back to work with confidence. Seven in ten respondents have confidence in the measures that gyms are taking against corona. International research2 from December last year, which registered 115 million visits in 14 countries (including the Netherlands), shows that the infection rate at gyms is only 0.00001. They see a reopening with measures such as online registration, training in time slots and with locker rooms for the time being closed as effective.

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People miss gym: ‘Training best shield against epidemics’


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