According to fitness industry body, VIC Active, indoor fitness centres need to reopen in order to combat a wide range of health problems and ingrained bad habits caused by months of lockdowns.
VIC Active has again called on the Victorian Government to allow the orderly and safe reopening of indoor fitness centres, pointing to clear scientific evidence that they are not only COVIDSafe but also central to health and wellbeing.
VIC Active spokesperson, Tim Schleiger cited a range of behaviours that are very concerning and point to a massive breakdown in the physical and mental health of Victorians.
Schleiger notes “it is very clear that COVID lockdowns are actually creating worse problems than the virus itself. When it comes to the management of physical and mental health there is no doubt that good habits have been broken and bad habits have become established.
Schleiger cited the following as examples:
• Despite most hospitality venues being closed alcohol consumption has risen
• The incidence of domestic violence has spiked
• Suicides of teen and elderly males are higher than before COVID
• GPs are reporting a surge in mental breakdowns particularly focused at middle aged and young men
• The banning of safe sports like golf, tennis and recreational fishing has meant that thousands of men and women simply skip their habitual exercise for the week
• Men and women are missing regular health checks – meaning conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes and obesity are all out of control
• There are established links between a physical workout and mental health benefits
• Fitness centres, particularly in regional and country areas, are an important and safe meeting point for people. Social engagement for many single people or others living with someone who is aged or frail has been terribly lonely.
VIC Active has been advocating since the introduction of the second lockdown that fitness centres should be open to service Victorians in a COVIDSafe way.
Schleiger highlights that “fitness clubs are not high risk – there is now clear and irrefutable evidence of that from all over the world, but the Government is ignoring facts and keeping clubs closed on a political whim.
“Data collected by Fitness Australia shows that from 7.31 million check-ins across 546 clubs in the first eight weeks after they reopened in NSW there were zero cases of reported community transmission.
“Unlike many other industries, fitness clubs know exactly who is using the facilities, at what time and for how long. We have an almost unrivalled capacity for contact tracing – should it even be required.
Schleiger adds “Fitness clubs were already highly controlled clean environments, regulated with gold standard hygiene processes – these are significantly enhanced by COVID-safe plans.
“We met with the Deputy CHO and public servants in recent weeks. They listened to our position but have done nothing.
“How can it be OK to go to the supermarket or bottle shop, yet you can’t go to your fitness centre? How can these people seriously allow the construction industry to reopen when gyms are closed?
“Sadly, this is clearly not about data and the best medical advice. The (Victorian) Government is running an eradication strategy and won’t admit it. Sadly, it is Victorians who are suffering for the Premier’s sheer stubbornness.”
The broader fitness industry in Victoria comprises more than 45,000 staff. While one in six Victorians regularly attend a fitness centre.
For more information on VIC Active go to www.vicactive.org
Image: Tim Schleiger
14th September 2020 – VIC Active considers Government’s mental health support package to be tokenistic
11th September 2020 – VIC Active claims government’s proposal for outdoor training is impractical
8th October 2020 – Fitness Australia releases research showing impact of lockdown gym closures
7th October 2020 – Fitness Australia Chief Executive slams ‘potentially damaging’ FITREC claims
2nd October 2020 – Fitness Australia calls for COVID Marshal overhaul in NSW
25th September 2020 – Fitness Australia asserts there is no clear evidence gyms spread COVID -19
23rd April 2020 – Fitness Australia says gyms can safely reopen within strict framework
2nd April 2020 – Fitness Australia encourages Australians to ‘Keep on Moving’
24th March 2020 – Fitness Australia shares clarification on what constitutes a gym
18th March 2020 – Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish says ‘gyms do not need to close’
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