February 4, 2023

Swiss shun gyms despite absence of pandemic-related restrictions

Swiss shun gyms despite absence of pandemic-related restrictions

About 12% of the Swiss population had a membership to a fitness center at the end of 2021, according to the Swiss Active association. Keystone

Covid-related restrictions may be long gone but the Swiss are not rushing back to the gym. Older clients now tend to avoid fitness centers while young people have discovered other types of activities.

This content was published on September 18, 2022 – 14:55


The Swiss Federation of Health and Fitness Centers (SFGV) carried out a survey among 196 fitness companies across Switzerland. Only three say attendance is back to pre-pandemic levels. The survey was quoted in the Sunday edition of the German-language SonntagsBlick newspaper.

SFGV President Claude Ammann is concerned.  “On average, our members still make about 30 percent less turnover than they did before the coronavirus-this threatens their existence,” he says in statements quoted by the newspaper.

About one-third of establishments (72) reported losing 21-30% of their pre-pandemic clientele. Another third (70) welcome 31-50% fewer guests relative to the autumn of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out and ushered in an era of restrictions and lockdowns around the world.  One in 20 establishments does not even have half its usual occupancy rate.

The exact reasons for the drop in attendance are unknown. However, industry representatives suspect that there is still some unease among the older generation because of the pandemic. Due to the confinement period, which shuttered gyms among other establishments, young people discovered new outdoor activities. 

Switzerland lifted most Covid-related restrictions in February 2022.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative