On July 15, Time.com published the article: "The Pandemic Is Turning Americans Against the Gym. That Could Be a Good Thing for the Nation's Health."
We take issue with the suggestion that a reduction in health clubs and health club membership will lead to an increase in physical activity. How could it? The article doesn't provide any evidence that suggests that health clubs suppress exercise, nor does simple logic support this conclusion.
The health club industry is dedicated to increasing physical activity among all populations. Without gyms and fitness studios, people would exercise less often, an outcome that is being demonstrated every day during the pandemic.
Why the author would write an article arguing the opposite is baffling—and to those of us in the industry—enraging.
The facts support the industry’s mission. Arguing otherwise makes no logical sense.
Imagine an article with the title: “The Pandemic Is Turning Americans Against the Library. That Could Be a Good Thing for the Nation’s Literacy.”
You see the problem.
Written by Jamie Ducharme, who covers health issues for Time, the article promotes a baffling argument, one that is refuted by the facts presented in the very article itself. That’s no exaggeration. Early in the piece, Ducharme interviews a personal trainer named Artzi that results in the following passage:
“‘You can’t replace human contact,’ Artzi says. People will also miss ‘the weights, the equipment,’ she says. ‘Not everyone can have their own gym’ at home.
“Every fitness instructor, researcher and industry expert interviewed for this story expressed some variation of Artzi’s view, and said they can’t picture a post-pandemic world devoid of gyms.” [our italics]
Read that last sentence again. Every single source the writer interviewed for the article—every expert and authority on the subject—disagreed with the article’s premise. You would think that would change the focus of the piece.
To be fair, Ducharme devotes the bulk of the text arguing for the importance of exercise, and lamenting that Americans aren’t engaging in adequate levels of physical activity. This could read as an endorsement for health clubs and fitness studios. That’s why it’s so difficult to understand the point the writer is trying to make.
It seems that the entire argument hangs on this one sentence about halfway through the piece:
“The ingrained idea that people need to go to the gym to get fit is part of the problem.”
Is there any support for this statement? Any evidence at all? Any survey, study, or researcher on record to prove this claim? None is offered. It’s just a supposition stated without attribution or facts.
Is there any sentient adult who honestly believes that they can exercise only in gyms? That walking, running, swimming, playing sports in environments outside of health clubs aren’t already popular ways to work out?