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Gym Health and Safety Statistics 2024

Dru Hill
Dru Hill
Published on Tue, Jul 2, 2024
gym health and safety stats

In today’s fitness landscape, one of the most important tasks of any gym owner is maintaining a healthy and safe environment for gym goers. In this article we will discuss detailed gym accident statistics on various aspects of gym health and safety, including gym accidents, injuries, germs, and the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19.

With the pandemic heightening awareness around hygiene and safety, gym owners are increasingly focused on preventing accidents, reducing liability, and ensuring the well-being of their members. By helping gym owners become aware of gym injuries statistics, COVID-19 gym statistics, and gym germ statistics, they could create better strategies for enhancing the safety and hygiene standards of their facilities, ensuring a secure and welcoming environment for everyone.

Gym Accident Statistics 

Ensuring the safety of gym members should always be a top priority, yet accidents can and do happen. Gym accident statistics give us a better understanding of the common types of gym accidents, their frequency, and the factors that contribute to them. This is crucial for creating a safer workout environment. There were 409,224 injuries caused by exercise equipment in 2021. This represents an 8.3% increase from the previous year. These injuries ranged from mild strains to severe fractures and head injuries. ​

Tips for Preventing Gym Accidents 

Tips for Preventing Gym Accidents 

Preventing gym accidents involves a combination of regular maintenance, clear signage, and comprehensive training and supervision. Educating members on proper exercise techniques and maintaining a clean, organized environment is a simple way of keeping everyone safe. Other methods include encouraging the use of spotters and avoiding overexertion. Advising gymgoers about this can go a long way in helping create a safer workout space for all. 

  1. Regular Maintenance

Ensuring that all gym equipment is regularly inspected and maintained is critical to preventing malfunctions that can lead to accidents. Checking for wear and tear ensures that machines are properly lubricated. Also, remember to replace any damaged parts promptly. Schedule routine inspections by qualified maintenance personnel and keep a log of maintenance activities to track the condition of all equipment.

  1. Clear Signage

Clear and visible signage plays a crucial role in preventing accidents. Use signs to indicate wet floors, caution areas, and instructions for proper equipment usage. Additionally, place instructional signs near complex equipment to guide users on the safe and correct operation. Use signs that are made of durable materials and placed at eye level to maximize visibility.

  1. Training and Supervision

Providing thorough training for all gym staff. The staff should be well-versed in first aid, emergency procedures, and the proper use of all gym equipment. Encourage staff to supervise high-risk areas, such as weightlifting zones and cardio equipment, to assist members and prevent improper use. Regularly update training programs to include the latest safety practices and emergency response protocols.

  1. Educate Members

Offering educational workshops or informational materials to gym members can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. These sessions should cover proper exercise techniques, the importance of warm-ups and cool-downs, and the correct use of equipment. Provide members with access to videos, pamphlets, and demonstrations to reinforce these safety practices. Encourage members to ask questions and seek guidance from trainers whenever necessary.

  1. Cleanliness

Maintaining a clean and clutter-free environment is essential to reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Regularly clean floors, especially in high-traffic areas like locker rooms and entryways, and ensure that spills are promptly addressed. Organize equipment neatly and ensure that weights and accessories are stored properly after use. Implement a regular cleaning schedule and assign staff to monitor and maintain cleanliness throughout the facility.

  1. Encourage Safe Practices

Promote the use of spotters during weightlifting sessions to help prevent injuries from dropped weights or improper lifting techniques. Encourage members to understand their limits and avoid overexertion, which can lead to strains and other injuries. Provide guidelines on safe workout practices and emphasize the importance of gradual progress in exercise intensity. Regularly remind members of these practices through signage, announcements, and personal interactions.

Common Types of Gym Accidents 

Gym accidents can be broadly categorized into slip and fall incidents, equipment-related injuries, and overexertion injuries. These accidents often result from wet floors, improper equipment use, or pushing physical limits beyond capacity. Understanding these common accident types helps in implementing effective safety measures to minimize risks and ensure a safer workout environment.

  1. Slip and Fall Accidents. Falls during group classes and on motorized equipment like treadmills accounted for 12.5% of fitness-related injuries treated in emergency departments. Slip and fall accidents are common in gyms. These accidents can lead to various injuries, including sprains, fractures, and head injuries. Proper cleaning protocols, clear signage, and regular maintenance can help prevent these types of accidents.

  2. Equipment-Related Injuries. Improper use of gym equipment is a significant cause of injuries. This includes misuse of weights, machines, and other apparatuses, leading to strains, sprains, and fractures. Ensuring that equipment is well-maintained and that users are adequately trained can reduce the incidence of these injuries. Being struck by equipment or walls was common in boxing-related activities account for 47.4% of such cases.

  3. Overexertion Injuries. Overexertion occurs when individuals push their bodies beyond their limits, resulting in muscle strains, ligament injuries, and severe fatigue. Encouraging proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and the use of appropriate weights and techniques can help prevent overexertion injuries.

Gym Injuries Statistics 

Understanding the prevalence and types of injuries that occur in gym settings is crucial for improving safety protocols. By analyzing these gym injuries statistics, gym owners can better tailor their safety measures to reduce the incidence of injuries and enhance the overall gym experience.

  • Exercise and exercise equipment led to nearly 379,000 injuries in 2020, spanning minor to potentially life-threatening incidents.
  • A study of gym injuries based on demographics shows that injuries caused by exercise equipment are most common among adults aged 25 to 64, accounting for 222,405 injuries in 2021. For older adults aged 65 and above, there were 72,943 injuries.
  • Fatal Injuries: In 2021, exercise equipment-related injuries resulted in 40,485 fatalities, emphasizing the potential severity of these incidents​​.
  • Gym injuries based on gender show that males account for around 57% of exercise equipment injuries, while females make up 43%​.
  • In 2022, approximately 3.6 million people were treated in emergency departments for injuries involving sports and recreational equipment, with exercise-related injuries being among the most common.​
  • There has been a notable increase in gym injuries in recent years. For example, exercise equipment injuries rose from 409,224 in 2021 to 445,642 in 2022.

Most Common Gym Injuries 

Gym injuries frequently include sprains and strains, fractures, and dislocations. These injuries often occur due to improper technique, overexertion, and accidents involving gym equipment. Understanding the causes of these injuries can help in implementing effective safety measures to prevent them and ensure a safer workout environment.

  1. Sprains and Strains. Sprains and strains are among the most frequent gym injuries, typically caused by overstretching or tearing ligaments (sprains) and muscles or tendons (strains). These injuries often result from sudden, awkward movements or lifting weights improperly. Preventive measures include proper warm-ups, using correct techniques, and not exceeding one’s physical limits.
  2. Fractures. Fractures, or broken bones, can occur due to high-impact activities, falls, or dropping heavy weights. These injuries are often associated with the improper use of equipment or accidents during high-intensity workouts. Ensuring that weights are secured, and that equipment is used correctly can help mitigate the risk of fractures.
  3. Dislocations. Dislocations happen when bones are forced out of their normal positions, commonly affecting joints such as shoulders, knees, and fingers. These injuries often result from falls, collisions, or improper lifting techniques. To prevent dislocations, it is crucial to use the correct form during exercises, avoid overloading weights, and maintain strong supporting muscles around the joints.

Gym Germ Statistics 

Gym equipment can harbor over 1 million germs per square inch, with harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA being commonly found. Effective hygiene practices, such as regular cleaning protocols and personal sanitation measures, are crucial to reducing the spread of these germs​.

  • Bacteria Levels on Equipment: Gym equipment can harbor more than 1 million germs per square inch, with harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) being common. Free weights, in particular, have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat​​.
  • Common Fungal Infections: Ringworm is a common fungal infection caused by dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments like gym locker rooms and shower areas. Athlete’s foot and jock itch are frequent occurrences in such settings​.
  • Virus Survival on Equipment: Rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, can survive on gym surfaces for several days if not properly disinfected. This highlights the importance of regular cleaning protocols​​.
  • Germs on Treadmills: Treadmills in gyms harbor 74 times more bacteria than household taps, making them a significant source of potential infections if not cleaned regularly​.

Effective Hygiene Practices 

Effective Hygiene Practices 

For Gym Owners:

1. Regular Cleaning and Disinfection.

  • Daily Cleaning: Ensure all gym equipment, floors, and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at least once daily. During peak hours, increase the frequency to maintain a hygienic environment.
  • Use Appropriate Disinfectants. Use EPA-approved disinfectants that are effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Ensure that the disinfectants are suitable for different types of equipment and surfaces to prevent damage​​.

2. Hand Sanitizer Stations:

  • Accessible Stations: Place hand sanitizer stations at key locations such as entrances, exits, and near equipment areas. Encourage members to use hand sanitizer before and after workouts​​.

3. Clear Signage and Guidelines.

  • Informative Signage: Use clear and visible signs to remind members to wipe down equipment after use, wash their hands frequently, and avoid touching their faces​​.

4. Air Quality Management.

  • Ventilation: Ensure the gym is well-ventilated to reduce airborne contaminants. Consider using air purifiers to improve indoor air quality​.

5. Education and Training.

  • Staff Training: Train staff on proper cleaning techniques, the importance of hygiene, and how to assist members in following hygiene practices​​.

For Gym-Goers:

1. Personal Hygiene:

  • Hand Washing: Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after workouts. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available​.
  • Avoid Touching Face: Refrain from touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth, during workouts to prevent the transfer of germs​​.

2. Wipe Down Equipment:

  • Before and After Use: Use disinfectant wipes or sprays to clean equipment before and after each use. Pay special attention to high-touch surfaces such as weights, handlebars, and machine controls​ ​.

3. Personal Items:

  • Bring Your Gear: Whenever possible, bring personal items such as mats, towels, and water bottles to avoid sharing and reduce the risk of contamination​.
  • Proper Storage: Store personal items in a clean and dry place. Avoid placing them on the gym floor, where they can pick up germs​​.

4. Footwear and Clothing:

  • Wear shoes: Always wear shoes in common areas such as locker rooms and showers to prevent fungal infections like athlete’s foot​​.
  • Clean Clothing: Wear clean workout clothes and change out of them as soon as possible after exercising. Launder gym clothes regularly to maintain hygiene​.

Common Germ Hotspots in Gyms 

Locker Rooms

Locker rooms are breeding grounds for germs due to the warm, moist environment, which is ideal for the growth of bacteria and fungi. Gym germ statistics show that common pathogens found in locker rooms include Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and fungi that cause athlete’s foot and ringworm. Personal items left on benches, unwashed gym clothes, and direct contact with surfaces can all contribute to the spread of these germs​​​​.


Gym equipment, including weights, machines, and mats, are high-touch surfaces frequently contaminated with a variety of germs. Studies have shown that gym equipment can harbor more than 1 million germs per square inch. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, viruses such as rhinovirus, and fungi can survive on these surfaces for extended periods, especially if they are not regularly disinfected​​​​​​.


Showers in gyms are another hotspot for germs due to the constant presence of moisture. Fungi such as those causing athlete’s foot and other infections thrive in these environments. The floors, walls, and showerheads can all harbor harmful microorganisms if not properly cleaned and maintained. Walking barefoot in these areas increases the risk of contracting infections​​​​.

It doesn’t take much to get infected. Even in the absence of cuts or wounds, direct skin contact can expose you to germs, fungi, or viruses. Based on an article by CBC/Radio-Canada, the average total bacteria count for areas and equipment in the gym is as follows:

  1. Shower – 39,196
  2. Mat – 8,798
  3. Yoga Ball – 1068
  4. Barbell – 767
  5. Dumbbell – 653
  6. Elliptical – 207

* Total bacteria count refers to the number of colony-forming units (CFU) found per sample. One bacterium equals one colony-forming unit (CFU).

Gym Anxiety Statistics 

 Anxiety is a common issue among gym-goers, affecting individuals in various ways. Gym anxiety statistics indicate that gym anxiety, also known as “gymtimidation,” can deter people from attending fitness facilities regularly. A survey found that approximately 50% of Americans feel intimidated by the gym environment, with women experiencing higher levels of anxiety compared to men​​. Additionally, social anxiety disorder (SAD) affects about 7% of the population, and many individuals with SAD report significant fear and avoidance of gyms due to concerns about being judged or embarrassed​​.

Strategies to Reduce Gym Anxiety 

For Gym Owners:

1. Welcoming Environment:

2. Orientation Programs:

  • Gym Tours: Offer guided tours for new members to familiarize them with the facility and equipment.
  • Introductory Sessions: Provide free or low-cost introductory personal training sessions to help new members feel more comfortable using the equipment.

3. Privacy Options:

  • Separate Areas: Create private or semi-private workout spaces where individuals can exercise without feeling watched.
  • Women-Only Sections: Consider having women-only areas to reduce anxiety for female members.

4. Supportive Community:

  • Group Classes: Offer a variety of group classes that foster a sense of community and support.
  • Buddy Programs: Encourage members to bring a friend or join a buddy program to make workouts more enjoyable and less intimidating.

For Gym-Goers:

1. Set Realistic Goals:

  • Personal Progress: Focus on your own progress rather than comparing yourself to others. Set achievable goals and celebrate small victories.

2. Plan Ahead:

  • Off-Peak Hours: Visit the gym during off-peak hours to avoid large crowds and reduce anxiety.
  • Workout Plan: Have a clear workout plan to follow, which can help you stay focused and reduce feelings of uncertainty.

3. Bring a Friend:

  • Workout Buddy: Exercising with a friend can provide emotional support and make the gym experience more enjoyable and less intimidating.

4. Educate Yourself:

  • Learn the Equipment: Take time to learn how to use the gym equipment properly, either through online resources or by asking gym staff for assistance.
  • Attend Classes: Participate in group classes to learn new exercises in a structured environment.

5. Mindfulness and Relaxation:

  • Breathing Exercises: Practice deep breathing or mindfulness exercises before and during your workout to stay calm and focused.
  • Positive Affirmations: Use positive self-talk and affirmations to build confidence and reduce negative thoughts.

COVID-19 and Gym Statistics 

Disturbing COVID gym statistics show that nearly 96% of gyms and fitness centers around the world closed temporarily during the height of the pandemic in early 2020. This led to substantial financial losses for the industry​​. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the fitness industry, accelerating the adoption of digital fitness solutions like COVID-19 Contact Tracing and highlighting the importance of hygiene and safety in gym environments. These changes are likely to have lasting effects on how gyms operate and engage with their members in the future.

Impact of COVID-19 on Gym Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on gym operations worldwide, as reflected in several coronavirus gym statistics. Here are some key statistics and insights that illustrate these effects:

Gym Closures and Financial Losses

The U.S. gym industry alone lost an estimated $13.9 billion from mid-March to August 2020. Overall, the industry saw a 52% drop in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, resulting in a total loss of $29.2 billion from March 2020 through June 2021​​​​.

Membership Decline and Behavioral Shifts

Around 25% of gym members indicated they would not return to their gyms post-pandemic. This shift was partly due to health concerns and the increased adoption of home fitness solutions​​.

There was a significant increase in the number of people opting for home workouts and virtual fitness programs. Over 70% of Americans considered purchasing home fitness equipment or subscribing to digital fitness platforms during the pandemic​​.

Health and Safety Measures

Gyms that reopened had to implement stringent health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This included enhanced cleaning regimens, social distancing measures, mandatory mask policies, and temperature checks for both staff and members​​​​.

Virtual Fitness Boom

The demand for virtual fitness solutions surged, with more than 85% of gym-goers using online workouts during lockdowns, This solutions includes running fitness classes remotely. Many gyms offer virtual classes to retain their members and maintain engagement​​.

The global digital fitness market is projected to reach $59.231 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.1% over the forecast period. This growth is largely attributed to the increased reliance on digital fitness solutions due to COVID-19 restrictions​​.

Operational Adjustments

Gyms had to adjust their operations to comply with local health guidelines, which often included limiting the number of members allowed inside at one time, rearranging equipment to ensure social distancing, and offering outdoor workout options​​.

Many gyms also enhanced their air filtration systems and installed touchless entry and payment systems to reduce contact points and improve overall safety​​.

COVID-19 Safety Measures in Gyms

Social Distancing Protocols

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, gyms have implemented various social distancing protocols. These measures include:

  • Capacity Limits: Gyms often operate at reduced capacity to ensure members can maintain a safe distance from each other. This may involve limiting the number of people allowed inside the facility at any one time​​.

  • Equipment Spacing: Fitness equipment is rearranged to ensure adequate spacing between machines and workout areas, typically maintaining a distance of at least six feet between users​​.

  • Class Size Reduction: Group fitness classes are limited in size to allow for proper distancing. Some classes may be moved outdoors to provide more space and better ventilation​​.

  • Signage and Floor Markings: Clear signs and floor markings guide members to maintain physical distance, especially in high-traffic areas like entrances, locker rooms, and waiting areas​​.

Cleaning and Disinfection Practices

Enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices are crucial in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in gyms. These practices include:

  • Frequent Cleaning: High-touch surfaces and equipment are cleaned and disinfected multiple times throughout the day using EPA-approved disinfectants effective against the coronavirus​​.

  • Sanitizing Stations: Hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the gym, encouraging members to sanitize their hands before and after using equipment​ ​.

  • Equipment Wipes: Disinfectant wipes are provided for members to clean equipment before and after use. Staff also routinely disinfect equipment to ensure thorough cleanliness​​.

  • Deep Cleaning: Gyms often conduct deep cleaning sessions during off-hours, ensuring all areas, including locker rooms and showers, are thoroughly sanitized​​.

Mask and Vaccination Policies

To further reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, gyms have implemented mask and vaccination policies:

  • Mask Mandates: The use of masks by the staff and gymgoers was a common requirement in many gyms. This is done to promote social distancing and prevent the spread of the disease. The specific requirements can vary based on local regulations and gym policies​.

  • Vaccination Requirements: Some gyms require proof of vaccination for entry to ensure the safety of all members and staff. This policy is particularly common in areas with high transmission rates or where local laws mandate it​​.

  • Health Screenings: Gyms may conduct health screenings, including temperature checks and symptom questionnaires, before allowing entry to ensure that individuals displaying symptoms do not enter the facility​.

Ensuring Safety and Preventing Injuries in Your Gym 

Gym accident statistics and gym injuries statistics give us an insight into the prevalence of injuries in the gym. This is why gym owners should make preventing injuries and accidents in the gym essential for maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all members. By implementing robust safety protocols, such as regular equipment maintenance, clear signage, and staff training, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Encouraging good hygiene practices and educating members on proper exercise techniques also play a critical role in injury prevention. Together, we can create a safer and healthier space for everyone who uses your facilities.

Following these tips on keeping the gym safe and healthy helps create a safer atmosphere and build trust and confidence among your members. For more detailed guidance on safety measures and contact tracing, you can also visit our blog on GymMaster’s COVID 19 contact tracing.