Junior Economist
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Junior Economist

How the reopening of fitness facilities is crucial to the livelihoods of Ontarians

Source: Global News

On October 10th the Ontario government closed down all gyms and fitness centres in Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York region for the second time this year in pursuit of implementing restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in those areas. After 28 days the Ontario government is officially lifting the modified Stage 2 restrictions on Saturday November 7th at 12:01 am. Capacity limits and restricted hours are just a few of the new rules workers and members will have to follow moving forward.

When the decision was first announced by Premiere Doug Ford, owners and members were upset and felt the move disregarded the importance of fitness centres in the lives of those who go to the gym in the restricted areas. In an interview with CP24 News, Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) President Scott Wildeman said people across the province are being negatively affected by deprivation of access to indoor fitness facilities.

“Fitness and exercise play a vital role in the physical health of Canadians but also the mental and emotional health of Canadians and during this time people are really being impacted,” Wildeman said.

Source: Office of the Premier

What impact do gyms fitness centres have on the community?

The reopening of gyms will have a significantly positive impact on the livelihood and health of communities in the restricted regions. Fitness centre employees will once again be going back to the workplace where they can provide their services and gym to athletic members of the community who wish to stay in shape as the winter season comes along.

Source: Goodlife Fitness Centres

According to a labour studies report researched on Workers in Ontario gyms and fitness clubs, 1 in 25 Canadian are members at the fitness centre giant, Goodlife Fitness which employs 59% of Ontario’s fitness employees. Reopening the gyms is allowing these employees who are instructors, trainers, customer service representatives, managers, and supervisors to get back to work and earn money that keeps the roof above their heads at work and at home. Gyms will be able to get back on their feet and achieve the closest sense of commercial normalcy when open as they will once again have revenue coming in that will help cover the rent, payments to suppliers and other expenses.

Fitness centres and their role in the economy

In terms of an economic perspective, money spent on fitness and healthy diets and word of mouth will create a boost in the communities of the gyms. People going back to the gym creates more buying and selling between members and centres that puts money in peoples pockets and keeps customers happy.

A study by MyProtein done on 1,350 US adults revealed that the average adult spends $155 ($201 CAD) per month on their health and fitness. Of that breakdown, $33 are on a membership, $56 on supplements, $35 on clothing and accessories for exercise, $17 for meal plans and $15 for trainers. It is a distinct trend that the use of gyms and fitness centres enforces a need for consumers to continue to invest their money in to other avenues of health and wellness to maintain the lifestyle they want to achieve.

Furthermore with winter on the near horizon, having gyms reopen is a big win for members who don’t have equipment at home and can’t do physical activity in the southern Ontario winter temperatures.

“I can’t understand closing down the main source of people’s exercise. Many do not have the discipline to do the work-out at home. They need support and community and someone to guide them to achieving their goals.”

Micaela Hoglund, owner of F45 gym in Etobicoke said on October 6th as the news of the closures were announced. “If there’s another lockdown, we will see mental health issues skyrocket,” she said. The sudden stopping of regular physical activity can increase depressive symptoms, according to a study done by P.h.D. student Julie Morgan, a student at the University of Adelaide.

Concluding thoughts

Southern Ontario residents who pursue healthy lifestyles can let out a long exhale as the gyms are reopening once again, and will hopefully not have to close anymore. Reopening the gyms and fitness centres gives employees their jobs back, and improves the overall mental health and satisfaction of those who work at and/or go to the gym.

It also allows members of the fitness community to get back in to their regular healthy habits and lifestyle of buying and consuming from the gym and other health and wellness industries. Gyms and fitness centres have a formidable impact on communities and their economic state, especially in the midst of such a fragile time in Ontario and the rest of the world.

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