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Phillip Mills: Gyms are a cornerstone of global recovery from COVID-19

By Tom Walker    07 Sep 2020
Mills said that, as well as providing a direct health benefit in the fight against COVID-19, investing in exercise would have a huge effect on the future of the global economy / Les Mills
It’s time for governments to recognise the vital role of gyms in society and take meaningful action to support them
– Phillip Mills

Gyms and health clubs are a cornerstone of the global recovery from COVID-19 – and should be given the necessary backing by governments, according to Phillip Mills, founder and executive director of Les Mills.

Writing exclusively in the latest issue of HCM, Mills cited a number of studies which highlight the importance of exercise in the fight against the pandemic.

One of these, by scientist David C Nieman, suggests regular physical activity should be undertaken to reduce our risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Nieman believes it’s as important as physical distancing, hand washing and the wearing of face coverings," Mills said.

"He found aerobic exercise increases immunological fitness by increasing blood flow and mobilising white blood cells.

"Regular exercise also guards against obesity and reduces risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – three of the most important underlying conditions for COVID-19.

"Meanwhile, research led by Professor Zhen Yan at the University of Virginia found that regular exercise may reduce the risk of complications in people with COVID-19.

"Studying an antioxidant (EcSOD) that’s released in the body during exercise, Yan’s work “strongly supports” the possibility that higher levels of EcSOD in the body can prevent or at least reduce the severity of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – one of the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

"Yan urges people to protect themselves by starting to exercise more to boost EcSOD levels.

Mills added that, as well as providing a direct health benefit in the fight against COVID-19, investing in exercise would, in the long-term, have a huge effect on the future of the economy.

"A study by consultants, McKinsey, found that the economic impact of better health among the world’s population could add US$12 trillion to global GDP by 2040 – an 8 per cent boost," Mills said.

"As the world adjusts in the wake of this major health pandemic, with lessons learned and safer processes in place, it’s time for governments to recognise the vital role of gyms in society and take meaningful action to support them.

"Our COVID-19 recovery depends on it."

• To read the full article, written by Phillip Mills for HCM, click here.

Phillip Mills  Les mills  pandemic  COVID-19  McKinsey 
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