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Memberships in Swiss gyms surpass pre-pandemic levels

weightlifting
Big business: lifting weights in a gym near Zurich. Keystone / Gaetan Bally

On average, people in Switzerland worked out 1.3 times a week last year, according to an industry association study published on Tuesday.

In total, over 1.3 million people – around 15% of the population – trained in one of the 1,348 gyms across the country last year, according to the study by Swiss Active.

While a fitness and health trend already existed before Covid-19, the pandemic – which meant a lack of exercise options – has since spurred an intensification of the pattern, according to the study. The number of gym subscriptions in 2023 was 13% higher than in the previous year and considerably above pre-pandemic levels.

+ Read more: Swiss cut down on sport during pandemic

The recovery is not yet evident in all gyms. But according to the association, over 80% said they had already returned to 2019 membership levels. “This puts Switzerland ahead of Germany and Austria, where around two-thirds of businesses achieved this in the year under review,” the report states.

As membership numbers rose, so did turnover, which increased by almost 18% to CHF1.2 billion ($1.34 billion). Higher prices are the likely factor behind the fact that turnover increased more than subscriptions: according to the report, almost one in two companies adjusted their fees last year.

On average, a subscription in Switzerland costs some CHF1,000, Swiss Active said. Fitness chains are slightly cheaper (CHF900), while subscriptions in individual studios (CHF1,120) and micro studios (CHF1,320) cost slightly more.

Adapted from French by DeepL/dos

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