Nuffield Health reports strong member engagement since gyms reopened

Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, has reported strong member engagement at its fitness and wellbeing centres since indoor gyms were able to reopen in England on 25th July 2020. Since the initial reopening date in England, Nuffield Health have welcomed back members to all of its 113 consumer gyms across England, Wales and Scotland following local lockdown restrictions lifting, recorded over one million visits to its fitness and wellbeing centres.

We recently conducted a member survey to understand how members were feeling since returning to the gym, and of those 3,192 surveyed, more than 90% of members reported having a good experience. Members reported feeling safe (89%) and considered the cleanliness of the gyms to be of a high standard. 92% of members also felt staff were taking all the new safety measures seriously and 91% of members felt the cleanliness of sites were of a standard they expected from us. Finally, almost 90% of members would recommend joining Nuffield Health to others based on their most recent experience.

New research has added to the evidence that fitness facilities are not contributing to COVID cases. The latest study, undertaken by American member experience specialist, MXM and IHRSA, from operators including Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Life Time, and Orangetheory, analysed 49.4 million member check-ins across 2,873 gyms over three months. Data revealed only 0.0023% had tested positive for COVID-19, with no causality assigned to gym attendance. Similarly, ukactive, found an estimated 0.020 positive cases per 10,000 gym visits.

To maintain the health and wellbeing of staff and members, we have drawn on over 60 years of clinical care experience to influence its approach to reopening its fitness and wellbeing centres. Applying learnings from our hospital’s infection prevention team, we have reduced fitness class sizes and placed signs around the centres to help maintain social distancing. Classes are also shorter than usual to allow time to sanitise the space in between sessions. Swimming pools are available for lane swimming only, with fewer people able to use the pool at any one time, and members are required to book their session before arriving. 

Our Chief Operating Officer Martin Friend, comments: “We know that gyms and leisure centres have a critical role to play in the health of the nation, both physically and mentally, as we begin to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pleased to see our members returning to our centres with such strong engagement, making the most of the facilities we have to offer. It’s important our members know we have implemented extensive safety measures to keep them safe in order for them to return.”

“We appreciate the continued uncertainty the nation is facing. The health and safety of our members and employees is always our first priority, and we have implemented a number of changes to our sites, following guidance from ukactive, the UK Government, Public Health England and our infection prevention team. It is fantastic to see members embrace these new measures to ensure their own health and wellbeing and that of others.” 

To ensure cleanliness, we have been performing an enhanced two-stage cleaning process, using detergent and disinfectant, to sanitise all gym equipment throughout the day and to clean the entire club overnight. All gym floor team members are additionally responsible for cleaning as and when they are available to do so.  All centres provided multiple hand sanitising stations and hygiene wipe dispensers throughout the club, so members can clean down equipment and mats before and after use. 

During lockdown we developed exclusive content to keep members, active and healthy through our My Wellbeing app. Offered completely free-of-charge, members were provided with access to a whole host of ways to stay fit and healthy from home. Content included over 800 Les Mills on Demand™ workouts, Nuffield Health specific YouTube fitness classes, a range of fitness challenges to complete as well as emotional wellbeing support, including guides on managing mental wellbeing and tips for self-isolating. 

Following the success of the online content, with over 1 million views of its online workouts, we will continue to provide new and exclusive workouts through our member platform to support those not ready to return to the gym. Remote workouts will include Core, HIIT and Conditioning, as well as more holistic programmes such as Mindfulness, Yoga and Pilates to help members reach their fitness goals at any time. We will continually evolve and develop new workouts for members with future content bringing together experts from across the charity to support members, both physically and mentally.

Click here to see the social distancing measures we have introduced.

Last updated Monday 14 September 2020

First published on Monday 14 September 2020