May 28, 2020
Over the last two months, gym and leisure centre businesses have remained closed. However, as the rest of the world begins to adapt to a new normal, the UK can get a good idea of how gym and leisure centre business facilities will adapt. Recently, a video clip of a gym in Hong Kong gained viral attention online as many were interested to see what the new normal is for the fitness industry.
How gyms will look in a post-lockdown era
So, how will UK gyms run in the future? The BBC recently spoke with Huw Edwards, chief executive of non-profit organisation UK active about these key changes. Here is what we should expect to see.
Although we are seeing Perspex screens between supermarket checkouts, this may not be as easy with gym facilities. According to Edwards, “as it currently stands, it is not something that UK Active has been recommending.”
Instead, there will be plenty of management and visible signage that will guide people as they manoeuvre throughout the premises. A 2-meter spacing rule will continue to be enforced throughout all facilities.
One thing we should expect to see is sanitisation stations throughout facilities to ensure everyone takes steps to keep safe. What’s more, towels will also be banned from gym floors for some time.
Class reductions and breaks
To reduce how many people are in the changing rooms at one time, it would be unsurprising to see class times shortened with longer breaks between them. At the same time, the number of individuals in a single class may also face reduction, with markings on the floor to ensure everyone follows social distancing rules.
“You wouldn’t have that level of proximity in studios as you would have seen prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the dynamic within the studio will change,” said Edwards.
Who goes first?
Some people may be able to make a return to gyms and pools sooner than others. According to UK Active guidance, “operators may want to consider additional steps for any clientele over 70/with underlying health conditions”.
Edwards believes that this is a “major issue” to be discussed because of the “importance of both the physical and mental stimulation”.
“We know that the 55+, 60+, 70+ utilise swimming pools a lot in the context of our facilities so we will have those practical conversations.”
For those who are keen to get back in the pool, it’s important to note that they too will face strict restrictions and guidelines.
The framework from UK Active says that “maximum bather loads are based on one bather per three metres”, so expect to see a limit on the number of people using a pool at any one time.
Only one parent or carer will be able to supervise their child during swimming activities, and saunas and steam rooms will only open if social distancing can be followed.”
Different peak times
It has always been common knowledge that gyms tend to face their busiest periods either just before or just after work hours. In other words, 8 am or 6 pm tend to be peak times. However, as people face a change in working patterns, so should their free time to work out.
Gyms will not be able to reopen until 4th July in the UK, but this is significantly earlier than the original suggestion that it may not be until October.
According to Edwards, gyms will be in close contact with their members and team to educate them on the upcoming changes they should expect.
“Firstly we want them to know that they are going to be as safe as they possibly can be, and to be reassured about what they’re walking into,” he said.
To keep up to date with the latest fitness trends and news surrounding gyms and Covid-19, read our blog or get in touch with Fit2Train today.
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