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    Fitness Industry Roundup: Research & Data Are King

    More research unfolds as COVID-19 cases deplete in the U.S. These stories feature studies and results that look good for the health and fitness industry’s future.

    Getting our hands on COVID-19-related research has been a challenge throughout the pandemic’s entirety. Now that vaccine levels are up and cases have dropped, it seems the U.S. is—finally—successfully navigating the pandemic. With that being said, there’s now more attention available to give to research and perform studies. We’re focusing on four studies that focus on health and fitness or the industry in this week’s roundup, so let’s get right to it.

    Study Finds Liquid Chalk Functions as Antiseptic Against SARS-CoV-2 & Influenza A

    New research from the University of Melbourne finds that liquid chalk completely kills the pathogenic influenza A viruses and the SARS-CoV-2 virus reports International Business Times. "There was an assumption that liquid chalk could act as an antiseptic as it has a really high alcohol content, but until now, there was no scientific evidence to support it," said Jason Mackenzie, Ph.D., lead author of the study. The researchers tested four liquid chalk products and found that when using three of the chalks—before and after viral contact—there was no detection of the viruses on the surface they were applied. The fourth chalk product also had a significant impact but recovered some virus residue.

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    Read about the study.

    Survey Responses Highlight Mini-boom for the Health & Fitness Industry

    According to an Upswell Marketing survey, 80.4% of consumers are open to returning to the gym, and 46.8% said that sanitation is a key deciding factor. "The fitness industry is seeing a mini-boom,” said Tim Green, head of marketing and partnerships at TeamUp, a software platform serving more than 2,500 gyms worldwide. “Consumers who have missed the social interaction and motivation of in-person classes are excited to be back and are spending more than ever.” These results, featured in a recent CO— article, align with the rising notion of the significance of overall health and wellness. The article also calls attention to the increase in mental workouts and athleisurewear purchases.

    Learn more in the article.

    Research Points to Consumers Heading Back to Health Clubs, Gyms, & Studios

    Financial banking company, Jefferies, details positive research results for the health and fitness industry: Americans are returning to gyms. Nationwide, foot traffic at gyms and studios steadily improves—back to 83% of January 2020 levels—and online searches for “gym near me” returned to all-time-high levels. In contrast, accessing digital workout platforms and searches for at-home fitness equipment are declining. “We believe that people will employ a hybrid approach, using the plethora of digital concepts and traditional gym experience,” Jefferies analyst, Randy Konik, told CNBC. “Gyms that champion this model will emerge as winners in years to come.”

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    Check out more of what Jefferies' data reveals.

    Non-judgemental, Personalized Programs Improves Health of Those Living With Obesity

    Science Daily released a study conducted by the European Society of Cardiology that shows those living with obesity can improve their cardiovascular and mental health with non-judgemental, personalized lifestyle modification programs. “We observed improvements across all psychosocial and health outcomes during a relatively short period indicating that this could be a model of service delivery for other centres," said study author, Aisling Harris, cardiac and weight management dietitian at Croi Heart and Stroke Centre in Galway, Ireland.

    FIR 07 16 21 Croi CLANN Column Width

    The study took place over 10 weeks with 78% of participants completing the Croí CLANN (Changing Lifestyle with Activity and Nutrition) program. At the start, 30.8% of participants had moderate anxiety scores and 21.8% depression scores; these numbers dropped to 19.9% and 9.5%, respectively. Those with high blood pressure fell by 6% (from 37.4% to 31.1%) and participants with type 2 diabetes achieving the recommended blood sugar rose by nearly 10% (from 47.6% to 57.4%).

    Read more on the study.

    Has your health or fitness-related business been featured in the news recently? We want to know! Send a link to any news article or video that highlighted your business to pr@ihrsa.org, and we may include it in a future issue of the Fitness Industry Roundup.

    Author avatar

    Sami Smith

    Sami Smith is IHRSA's Communications and Public Relations Assistant. On a typical day, she delivers communications and creates content for IHRSA's advocacy efforts, while working to shape IHRSA and the fitness industry's public image on multiple platforms. Outside of the office, you can find her traveling to new areas, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.