They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit or shake a bad habit. Although, they didn’t tell you how Australian’s mindsets would be changed after gyms were forced closed for 83 days in 2020 due to COVID-19. After almost 3 months of being shut down, when Planet Fitness re-opened on June 13th they knew it was going to be a tough hill to climb to get back to where they were. What the entire Fitness Industry didn’t expect was that one year later they would still be facing challenges, and also trying to navigate the new priorities in people’s routines which has shifted the fitness world.
Shutting down gyms was in the Australian public’s best interest, and to continue to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle avid gym goers had to find an alternative.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BMJ) published an article in correspondence with the University of Sydney, supplementing data that revealed a spike in inside and outdoor exercise within the community when the lockdowns hit. This immediately resulted in thousands of home workouts, and even more hilarious Instagram videos to follow. Australians also found new interests in hiking, bike riding, rock climbing and generally walking outside, as someone had to walk their new puppy companion that was bought during the lockdown.
The BMJ data suggested that “despite challenges to an active lifestyle, the COVID-19 lockdown may have led to increases in population-level interest in and engagement with physical activity.”
The article notes that despite the simultaneous increase in the common sedentary behaviour of television viewing, the increase of exercise is still salient. The “potential explanations for the relative increase in exercise interest include compensation for reduced incidental activities, availability of discretionary time, increased health awareness and ubiquitous messages recommending exercise during COVID-19 from media, governments and health authorities (eg, WHO). In countries such as the UK and Australia, lockdown rules have explicitly allowed for exercises as ‘essential’ activities, which may nudge some to exercise outside.”
This data, alongside the general life changes people made (like moving home or pursuing a new active hobby) has been reflected in gym sales, with a current trend clear- people just aren’t joining gyms. Behavioural changes will take longer to determine, but right now your local gym or small studio needs your support.
Just like many businesses, Planet Fitness has had to adapt to the new trends and changed mindsets of Australians. This year they installed brand new private and automated Spray Tan Booths, included in their Platinum Membership from only $8 a week. They wanted to give members a bonus for sticking around post COVID-19, as well as entice customers and give them a new reason as to why they should join a gym (what is better than being golden all year long!?). The Spray Tan Booths have been such a success that Planet Fitness is ready to give back to the community again.
On Saturday, 19th June Planet Fitness Lambton held an Open Day for the community. Anyone could come and use the gym for free- that included working out, trying a class, getting a free Spray Tan, using the Infrared Sauna, Massage Chairs and Hydro-Massage Lounges. The Lambton location had a live DJ, free protein and supplements, a local chiropractor, free sausage sizzle AND supported Lifeline in the Push-Up Challenge.
By Gjenae Rosekelly