What will gyms need to do to reopen next month?

A recent survey by Sport England/Savanta ComRes discovered that British citizens in lockdown were missing the gym more (14%) than they were other leisure activities like swimming (13%) and football (5%).

Furthermore, the survey also reported that 87% of gym-goers plan to rejoin a gym after lockdown, and 27% of non-gym-goers plan to join a gym.

But when will they reopen?

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a few contradictory claims over when we can see gyms beginning to reopen. According to an optimistic article from the Guardian, the Government could be considering reopening gyms “as early as July.”

Alternatively, an “inside source” for the Sun Online, claimed that gyms won’t be opening until autumn, at the earliest.

Either way, fitness companies are encouraging the PM to reopen gyms as exercise helps to reduce obesity, which can double the risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 and increase the danger of death.

So What Changes May Affect Gyms After Lockdown?

Perspex Screens and Spacing

A recent clip, that went viral on social media, showed a gym with perspex screens between machines to prevent the spread of the virus. Could this be the future of our gyms?

Another option is to either space out machines, or to cordon off, or shut down, every other cardio machine. This is described as ‘Supermarket Spacing’ and is recommended to encourage social distancing.

Temperature Checks

As a high fever is one of the common symptoms of Coronavirus, temperature checks could be implemented at gym entrances. This way staff and members could be checked upon arrival and entry could be refused if they’re exhibiting symptoms.

While many gyms are considering the drawbacks of this, namely the inconvenience to members and the cost of having a staff member standing by the door at all times, a no-contact, automatic thermometer would be the ideal alternative. This would enable a quicker check, reduce the spread of coronavirus through the handling of the device, and would cost less in the long run.

The Marsden T-200 is an instant, contactless thermometer for quick and easy temperature screening. Watch the video below to see it in action, or view the product here.

Health Checks

Some gyms have even introduced health forms and checks that must be completed before admittance. Gym and fitness club provider Equinox has announced that all members and employees must complete a self-health check in their app before visiting. This is in addition to the temperature checks that they will be carrying out on the door.

Increased Gym Hygiene

In addition to all the health checks, members may also be required to disinfect and clean up after themselves. Spray bottles and cleaning wipes could be placed near all machines and hand sanitizer should be distributed regularly throughout workout areas. Crossfit843 has gone as far as to give all members their own spray bottle and towel!

Reduced Capacity and Limited Participants

Reduced gym capacity is another strategy that could be implemented to reduce the spread of coronavirus. By reducing the number of members allowed in the gym at any one time, gyms can ensure that members can maintain social distances, while carrying out their workout.

Further, with all members now experiencing different situations (WFH, furlough and work as usual), this could result in varying peak hours, meaning that reduced capacity may not negatively affect members.

By limiting participants in classes, trainers could continue indoor classes at a lower risk. Changing rooms would not be packed with class participants and markings could also be added to the floor to ensure social distancing is maintained. If classes are able to be completed outside, this is recommended.

Shorter Classes and Longer Breaks

Another suggestion is to provide shorter classes with longer breaks. Longer breaks are required to thoroughly clean equipment and mats after members have used them to reduce the spread of bacteria through cross-contamination.

Additionally, gyms may also consider shorter operating hours, as a deep clean will be required every evening. A midday clean may also be necessary.

Further Reading

Why should you be screening your employees’ temperature? Find out the 5 benefits here.

Trouble hitting member targets due to coronavirus? This post details 5 ways you can use body composition to increase member retention.

We're still here, and we support you: Our COVID-19 message.

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