“Jannuary effect” is not happening. People’s resolutions last until March. Every third active Czech goes to the gym.
Czechs are not “January people”. Despite January’s resolutions, Czech gyms have their highest attendance in the first quarter of the year in March. This is according to data from MultiSport Benefit, which has been analysing the number of entries of its clients in the first quarter since 2018. Last year, most Czechs exercised on 7 March, with a total of 31,857 people exercising that day. This is 14% more than the “most active” day in January.
There is a common belief in society that Czechs do most of their sport in January, mainly because of New Year’s resolutions and trying to get fit after Christmas and New Year’s Eve. However, MultiSport Benefit’s data on visits to sports centres contradicts this assumption.
“It is clear from our data mapping the attendance in almost two thousand sports centres in the first quarter of 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 that Czechs do not forget about the sport after January. Thanks to our data, we can refute the so-called January effect. March exhibits the highest number of visitors in the first quarter of the year,” comments Miroslav Rech, CEO of MultiSport Benefit, on the analysis results.
The average number of visits in January is 7% lower than in March. This shows that more and more people are developing healthy and sustainable sporting habits that they can stick with for the long term. Especially those who pay for a membership at a specific sports centre or use a MultiSport card.
“If people have a prepaid membership to a gym or swimming pool or use a benefits card, it motivates them actually to go and exercise. On the other hand, if they decide to work out at home on their own, it is easier for them to find an excuse to skip exercising today,” Rech adds.
Sports year 2022 in figures
In the first quarter of last year, the most significant number of Czechs went out to exercise on Monday, 7 March, when 31,857 people visited sports facilities. On Saturday, 29 January, however, the number of visitors to sports facilities was almost twice lower at 16,499. Even fewer Czechs took part in sport on 1 January, but this was due to fatigue from New Year’s celebrations and the fact that most sports facilities were closed.
Overall, Czechs exercised most often on Mondays in 2022 and did the least on Saturday and not on Sunday, which is generally considered a day of rest. Compared to Monday, attendance at sports facilities on Saturday is down by up to a quarter. Compared to 2020, when all sports facilities were closed from mid-March, interest in visiting them has dropped slightly. “People still have not returned to their previous habits after the temporary closure of sports facilities,” explains Miroslav Rech.
Czechs were most likely to visit fitness centres in the year’s first quarter accounting for 32% of all visits in 2022. Swimming pools and wellness centres were also popular, accounting for 15% of entrances.
Collective sports activities were also popular. Racquet sports and ball games (badminton, squash) were the third most popular, with 5% of total entrances. Group aerobic exercising (such as spinning, aerobics or Tabata) came fourth with 3.9%. “People do not forget that sport is also a great opportunity to meet friends and it is a form of socialisation. They can see their friends and play sports at the same time,” explains Miroslav Rech.
Yoga is also popular, with a share of 2%. However, according to the data, it peaked in popularity in 2020, with almost 40% more people participating in this activity than in the previous year. Martial arts have also increased in popularity by 35% since 2018.
New Year’s resolution? Yes, but in a healthy way and not as a “January person”
But New Year’s resolutions to improve fitness and lose weight are still popular. However, many forget that patience and long-term sustainability are critical to a healthy lifestyle. To keep resolutions, you need to create healthy habits and avoid drastic changes. “We need to know what goals we want to achieve and why they are important to us. Once we know the reason, it will be easier to create new habits,” advises psychologist Marek Katrňák.
Unhealthy habits and exaggerated goals can have the opposite effect. Setting realistic and smaller goals that can be achieved gradually is essential. We need to be careful that our efforts do not turn against us. “There is no art to destroying yourself in a training session and be done for a week. My advice is to take it easy, train for shorter periods and at a lower intensity (with lighter weights), but keep regularity. Do not underestimate stretching, sauna, whirlpool, steam and massage after training,” says Petr Soukup, trainer, physiotherapist and former top athlete. Data shows that Czechs prefer to go for wellness and regeneration on Sundays.
A healthy diet is also part of a comprehensive healthy lifestyle. Many people, in the good faith of improving their health, can easily harm their bodies. “It is much better to set realistic goals and make changes gradually,” concludes nutrition therapist Šárka Knížková.