SafeACTiVE Study – An independent assessment to measure COVID-19 infection risk in fitness clubs and leisure facilities

EuropeActive, the leading voice and non-profit association for the European fitness and physical activity sector, together with research and evaluation partners AWRC-Sheffield Hallam University and King Juan Carlos University, has already started the data collection process for the SafeACTiVE Study, the first initiative focused on actual confirmed COVID-19 cases in fitness facilities and leisure centres across Europe when compared to the actual number of visits in the same facilities. 

By documenting the relatively low risk of COVID-19 in fitness clubs, the study aims to eliminate concerns by the public (users and members) who are reluctant to go to a fitness club due to a perceived risk. It is also an opportunity to offer the fitness and physical activity sector a strong argument for keeping our resources open during new outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

The initial findings of the study will be presented as part of an introductory report during the European Health & Fitness Forum on 30th September. The full report is envisaged to be released in October 2020.

Research methodology 

The primary research method will be a survey conducted among European fitness operators. The survey consists of a series of questions about your facility/facilities and any positive Covid-19 confirmed cases (users/members and staff). Fitness and leisure facilities who participate are asked to provide information on total weekly visits since reopening on a week-by-week basis, and by using data provided by their access/membership systems.

EuropeActive Executive Director Andreas Paulsen said: “During COVID-19 we have published evidence-based articles on the socio-economic impact of our sector in society and on the many positive effects of fitness and exercise on the immune system. The SafeACTiVE research project, mapping COVID-19 risk in fitness and leisure facilities across Europe, will be the most credible and ambitious study of its kind so far. As the motto of THINK Active -sapere aude- indicates, our new research centre aims to provide the European fitness and physical activity sector with science and evidence-based knowledge and facts for stronger business decisions and for strengthening our position in our the communities”.

“This study 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 would like to take this opportunity to thank THINK Active’s partner universities for the SafeACTiVE project, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and AWRC-Sheffield Hallam University, as well as our sponsors Exerp, ExorLive, Life Fitness, Matrix, Myzone and Technogym for their continued support”, he concluded.

EuropeActive Board Member and Head of THINK Active Alfonso Jimenez also commented on the study: “Physical activity and exercise are especially important amid the COVID-19 pandemic given its role in helping to strengthen and improve immune functioning and lower risk of viral illness. The study methodology is considering three key factors potentially influencing results: existing COVID-19 Safety and Protection protocols in place on participating fitness clubs and leisure facilities; the geographical location of facilities related to COVID-19 infection rates in the area; and population groups served. A random third-party quality assurance double-checking system will confirm accuracy of reported data provided by participant organizations”.

The SafeACTiVE Study has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Exerp, ExorLiveLife Fitness, Matrix, Myzone and Technogym.

Detailed information for press and commercial use can be requested to Carlos Fernández, via communications@europeactive.eu. Photos, logos and other materials supporting this press release are available via the said email address as well.