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More people using Singapore’s ActiveSG fitness facilities than before the pandemic

More people using Singapore’s ActiveSG fitness facilities than before the pandemic
July 12, 2022

More than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and Singapore’s gyms and fitness clubs had to cut operations due to restrictions, Sport Singapore (SportSG) has advised that numbers using its facilities have risen to levels than before the pandemic.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, SportSG advised that more than 238,600 people utilised its 26 ActiveSG gyms in May - a 6% rise compared with the same month in 2019.

The statutory board also advised that there has been a similar increase in participation in programs at the ActiveSG Sport Centres, where more than 108,400 members took part in activities such as zumba and yoga in May - a 16% increase compared with the same period in May 2019.

SportSG, which has 19 sport centres running facilities in more than 30 locations, added that bookings and the number of users at its basketball and badminton courts and swimming pools have also increased.

The latest figures are an indication that more people here are engaging in physical activities after what has been a turbulent two years for the fitness industry in Singapore.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, strenuous indoor sports and exercise classes, which required participants to take their masks off, were halted.

Singapore’s gym and fitness studio owners suffered economic losses during the period, which led to SportSG pledging support in May last year in the form of $18 million to help businesses in the sports and fitness industry defray operating costs.

Restrictions were then eased before, in April's updated safe management measures (SMMs), safe distancing was no longer required between individuals or between groups, while group size limits were lifted.

The Straits Times also reported on a rise in numbers at private gyms and fitness studios.


John Suriya, Head Coach at personal training service Thrive Fitness advised of that his number of clients had doubled to 28 since the start of the year, when restrictions were lifted.

Suriya noted "the pandemic has meant that people had more time for themselves and now more people realise the importance of keeping fit. There is also increased awareness of the benefits of working out."

He also pointed to the revised set of the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines launched by SportSG and the Health Promotion Board last month. The guidelines call for adults to accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.

Suriya added “more people are taking health into serious consideration. With latest government guidelines, people are becoming more conscious and have realised that they need to incorporate some form of exercise into their daily lives. That is why there is now a greater demand for fitness classes and services all around.”

Among major franchisees, Dane Kapoor, who founded his first Body Fit Training (BFT) studio in 2019 at Tanjong Pagar opened a second studio in Orchard in April last year and BFT Bukit Timah in May.

Explaining that the Bukit Timah studio has seen 30%  more people signing up for membership at its opening, compared with the two other outlets, Kapoor stated “classes now are being run as they were pre-pandemic but the wiping and cleaning after each session are here to stay.

"The fitness industry suffered with the Covid-19 restrictions. It was hard for most of us to operate as a business but now we are all returning to normalcy. We have had a 15 to 20%  growth in numbers across the studios."

Koh See Khiang, owner of five Anytime Fitness franchises in Singapore, said that the number of visits now is similar to that of pre-pandemic levels. He said that the industry cannot rest on its laurels and added that he and his staff continue to take precautions.

He has installed air purifiers at his studios, while equipment has been rearranged to ensure there is less contact between members.

Koh added “there is definitely more people interested in wanting to work out. That is good to see but there are still challenges ahead with the state of the economy, tight labour market and a tough business environment, especially with so many different options now for people to work out at beyond just the gym.

"But as a business owner, I am happy that we have made it through what seems to be the worst. I am cautiously optimistic."

SportSG said there has been an increase in sport participation at its 19 ActiveSG Sport Centres, which run facilities in over 30 locations.

More than 78,700 bookings in May this year at ActiveSG Sport Halls, a 19% increase compared with May 2019, before the pandemic hit. Badminton courts were also being utilised 94% of the time compared with a utilisation rate of 81%  in May 2019.

A 7% increase in bookings in May this year compared with the same month in 2019. There were about 1,600 bookings of basketball courts compared with about 1,500 bookings in May 2019.

Swimming pools
In May this year, ActiveSG's 25 swimming pools recorded an average attendance of about 23,000 guests on each weekend, a 2% increase from the attendance recorded in the same period of May 2019.

Images: ActiveSG Sport Centres at Bedok (top) and Jurong West and BFT (below).

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