It’s been forever since we went to the gym.
COVID-19 has interrupted training plans, goals and schedules and many of us are finding it difficult to maintain an effective home-workout regime during the lockdown.
We’re all waiting with baited breath to get the go-ahead to get back to our gyms and studios but how likely will that be in the coming months?
And when UK gyms do re-open, what will they look like and how could we be exercising differently?
Why Aren’t the Gyms Opening with Shops?
We know that regular moderate exercise boosts the immune system and that the fitter a person is the less likely they are to suffer complications after contracting COVID-19.
We also know that Coronavirus doesn’t spread through sweat.
If you’ve ever wanted to use exercise to boost your health, then there’s never been a better time to get started.
The problem is that gyms are enclosed areas where multiple people are exercising in relatively close proximity. Gyms are touchy-feely places, too. You have surfaces on everything: treadmills, bikes, rowing machines, weights, yoga mats, etc.
The cleaning of these areas can be difficult and easily done incorrectly. With all us paying far more attention to cleanliness right now, it’s no surprise that people are setting up home gyms.
One infected person in a gym could touch multiple surfaces in a short period. They could also spread infected respiratory droplets onto other people. These other people could the go out and infect more people.
And we already know that gyms are already likely to harbour several dangerous viruses.
For gyms to open, there would have to be a big change on how they operate and how we use them.
It’s all been a very difficult time for gyms but it’s promising to see how many of us are desperate to get back to exercising there. A recent survey by Sport England showed that people missed going to the gym more than any other fitness activity.
It suggests that the industry will bounce back given time.
When Will UK Gyms Re-open?
There have been several rumours that gyms won’t open again until the Autumn. This was devastating news not only to anyone with a membership but also to those working and running them.
According to the telegraph, it was revealed on Thursday that there could be a £2 billion social cost to the industry if restrictions remain in place until October.
But now there’s hope that they could open as early as next month. Huw Edwards, chief executive of UK Active, said there’s a plan to open up showroom sites to illustrate to the Government exactly how gyms could re-open safely.
Many in the industry are optimistic that at least some gyms will be back open for business by July 4th.
Of course, this will depend on the number of reported UK cases of COVID-19 in addition to whatever UK Active are able to demonstrate.
The last thing anyone wants is for gyms to be responsible for a second spike in cases.
The Rise of the Home-Gym
There’s been a 400% rise in at-home equipment purchased in April, and It’ll be interesting to see if this impacts the initial numbers of people returning to the facilities.
There may be a relatively slow uptake in some places as people may not feel confident returning so soon.
For many, home gyms will continue to be a means of working out until a vaccine is developed or until chances of contracting the virus are much less than they are now.
Amongst other things, home gyms are easier to keep clean.
How Will Gyms Ensure People Are Safe?
Whether gyms open in July or October, they’ll be restrictions in place. It may be some time until we’re back to normal.
On arriving at the gym, you may find:
- You need to have your temperature checked before you go in.
- You’ll have to keep 2-meters away from other people
- There’ll be plexiglass around the equipment
- That some equipment is out-of-use to ensure adequate social distancing
- That there’s a more vigorous cleaning regime
- That showers and changing rooms are closed
- That towels aren’t allowed on the gym floor
- That there’s a reduced class timetable operating with smaller sized classes.
- And that you may have to queue to get in
We’re all looking forward to getting back to the gym but it’s important that when that happens it’s safe to do so for everyone. We may have to be patient a little while longer.
From what’s been suggested we can expect gyms to be open in some capacity between July and October.
In the meantime, if you’re itching for a workout or planning on building your own gym, check out the GymHugz online store to buy UK manufactured free weights and gym equipment.