BOSTON, MA—September 10, 2020—The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) partnered with MXM to track health club member check-ins to prove that clubs are not contributing to the spread of coronavirus. After announcing the study’s positive results, IHRSA and MXM are seeing the story gain traction across many media outlets.
On Wednesday, September 2, the news, National Study Confirms It's Safe To Work Out At The Gym, was sent over the wire to hundreds of news media contacts and has been viewed over 25,000 times. Media outlets that have picked up the release include Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, Business Insider, dozens of broadcast stations, and more. From the media pickups, the release will reach roughly 100 million potential audience members.
The importance of data collection became apparent to IHRSA during its advocacy efforts to save the fitness industry. The industry took an overflow of hits from press quoting medical experts that facilities are not safe and high-risk environments for spreading COVID-19. However, these assessments were based on expert opinion—rather than facts or data.
A total of 2,873 fitness facilities took part in the “visit-to-virus” ratio tracker by providing their member check-in data since reopening and the total number of COVID-19 cases—where a member or an employee had tested positive for the virus. Those locations recorded 49.4 million member check-ins and reported merely 1,155 cases—none of which were contracted at the facility, but elsewhere. The results are equivalent to a 0.0023% infection rate.
“Early on during the shutdown, there wasn't any data about outbreaks and risk,” said MXM CEO Blair McHaney. “But as clubs started to reopen, many of our customers at MXM had incredible data about check-ins and the lack of any COVID-19 cases occurring in their clubs.”
To put the “visit-to-virus” results into a better perspective, we can compare it to auto accidents. In 2018, there were 0.00208 accidents per 1,000 miles driven in the U.S., totaling 0.208 accidents per 100,000 miles. The chance of encountering a person with COVID-19 when visiting a gym is less than the chance of experiencing an accident after driving a car 481,189 miles.
“One of IHRSA’s primary focuses during the pandemic is to show the public that health clubs are, in fact, low risk and taking every extra precaution to keep members, staff, and the community safe,” said Meredith Poppler, IHRSA’s vice president of communication & leadership engagement. “The ‘visit-to-virus’ ratio tracker is yet another piece of positive data that we are able to share on behalf of the fitness industry. We are grateful for our partnership with MXM and their vital part in our efforts.”
The inspiration behind gathering check-in data, McHaney said, was because of a particular situation where a health club employee tested positive—worked in the facility before receiving the positive test—but no outbreak occurred. “That inspired me to create a system for collecting the data in a more broad fashion in order to help the entire industry,” McHaney said.
As the fitness industry’s sole association, IHRSA will continue fighting for health and fitness clubs to:
- keep clubs open and include the industry in stimulus and relief packages,
- get the message across that clubs are safe and clean, and
- promote that fitness facilities—and exercise—are essential.
IHRSA, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers.
IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to peak health and fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle disease. As one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA and its members are devoted to making the world happier, healthier, and more prosperous through regular exercise and activity promotion.
MXM is the world’s leading experts on Operational Member Experience Management and the only company that solely focuses on the Fitness/Wellness Industry. The MXM product combines years of global leadership in CEM technology through Medallia, extensive experience in health club operations, and advanced knowledge of fitness-specific customer experience management operations.
The MXM system collects real-time feedback from customers, combines that with advanced data integration to get deeper understanding of customer segments, and empowers club operators to make the right spending decisions and drive employee engagement while generating leads and greatly increasing online review quantity and quality. Learn more at mxmetrics.com.