60 Percent of Americans Will Be Quitting This Post-Pandemic

More than half of those surveyed have said that lockdown has changed their perspective on working out.

The shuttering of gyms and health clubs across the U.S. on account of coronavirus disrupted the workout regimens of millions of Americans. And even as some states are cautiously reopening gyms—and new research has cleared them for safety—it's becoming apparent that the general public isn't quite rushing back to their elliptical sessions or cycling classes. In fact, according to a new survey published by TD Ameritrade, 59 percent of Americans have said that they will be quitting their gyms post-pandemic, CNBC reports. But it may not be for the reasons you think.

The report found that 56 percent of those surveyed are forgoing renewals of their memberships not because they don't feel safe, but because they've found more affordable ways to work out in lockdown. How much can they look forward to saving? The survey found that gymgoers spend an average of $177 per month (or $2,124 annually) on fitness splurges such as group classes, personal training sessions, and membership dues.

Woman working out and doing lunges with her dog in the living room

But for many, the idea of rushing back to a crowded, notoriously germy place where people are breathing heavily still weighs on their decision. In fact, another recent survey (conducted by OnePoll on behalf of LIFEAID Beverage Co.) of 2,000 Americans who typically exercise at least twice a week found that one in four said they would not be returning to the gym for exercise after the pandemic due to COVID fears.

"Compared to a restaurant with outdoor seating, gyms are in general likely to be a higher risk place due to the number of people that might work out in an enclosed space, with poor ventilation, many high contact surfaces, and lots of hard exhalations that could produce respiratory droplets," William Li, MD, physician-scientist and Angiogenesis Foundation President, previously told Best Life.

Others point to how difficult the many high-touch surfaces at gyms can be to sanitize effectively. Equipment such as kettlebells and dumbbells are "strange shapes [with] many different places people can grasp," Deverick Anderson, MD, director of the Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Infection Prevention, told The New York Times. "They are not easy to clean."

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out in their safety guidelines that, at the gym, there are many "items that cannot be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected between use, such as resistance bands and weightlifting belts."

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Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, are keeping gyms closed or have mandated how they can be used, limiting them to scheduled private training sessions or moving classes outdoors. But it seems many Americans may just choose to stick to their fitness apps and home workout equipment in the end. And for more tips on staying safe, check out 50 Essential COVID Safety Tips the CDC Wants You to Know.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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