After another few months of being told to stay at home, we’ve got an idea of when things will open up again. Indoor fitness facilities and leisure centres are allowed to open in England from April 12th. You’ll soon be able to use Hussle to fit fitness in again and get access to loads of different gyms and pools across the UK.
Some of us can’t wait to get back to it. Others might be a little more cautious. What we need to remember is that the virus has not gone away. There are steps we all need to take to look after our health and safety whilst getting back to our everyday lives at the same time.
We know it’s important to fit fitness in. It’s good for the mind. The body. The soul. We should all be able to get back to the gym and workout in our own way. The government’s decision to lift the restrictions on fitness facilities means that it is safe to do so with suitable precautions in place.
We’ve done this before. Gyms have successfully reopened after a lockdown with all the effective social distancing and COVID regulations in place. We know that it’s all about reducing risks. By following the guidelines put in place, we can start to get back to the gyms and minimise the risks as much as possible.
Each fitness facility has a responsibility to put measures in place to make the risk of transmission is as low as possible in their venue. We each have a responsibility to follow them. Together, our combined efforts will mean you can work out safely.
If you’ve been to the gym whilst measures have been in place, you might know what to expect. But if you haven’t, here’s a breakdown of what your gym might do and what you should do to work out in a COVID friendly way.
Things your gym might do:
The below is taken directly from the government guidance on reopening leisure facilities. For the specific details and measures taken by your gym, please contact them directly.
You might need to book or queue
Your gym might implement a booking or a queuing system to keep the number of people inside the facility within new capacity limits.
We will continue to update our gym pages with information about each venue’s status and the measures being taken. Still, if you are unsure, you should contact your gym directly for details on the exact actions they will be taking.
Social distancing while working out
Every gym will take its own approach to make sure customers can stay at least 1m apart from each other at all times.
This might mean limited capacity in different spaces, floor markers to show you what 1m distance looks like, more space between machinery, or machines that are not available for use.
Where possible, some activities and equipment might be moved outside. You can expect a bit of a reshuffle of equipment to maintain the correct distances.
In the pool, the guidance is 3m per person. So, you can expect to see fewer people in the water than on the gym floor. Sauna’s and steam rooms will only be allowed to host 50% of their normal maximum capacity.
Moving about safely
Your gym might bring specific measures into place to help you move through the facility safely. One-way systems may be introduced and shown via floor markings to avoid you passing by anybody.
Entrances and exits might be a little different than what you’re used to. If your gym usually has a turnstile, this might be disabled in favour of a no-contact solution.
Cleaning will be carried out more regularly
Expect to see surface and kit cleaning happening much more regularly. You might even need to share the space with people cleaning as you work out.
Studios and spin rooms will be cleaned thoroughly between sessions, so classes might be less regular to allow enough time for this to happen. Opening hours might change to ensure a deep clean is carried out at the end of each day.
The music might be turned down low
Music played in the gym might be turned down low or switched off altogether to discourage the need to raise your voice or shout. So, if you need beats and bass to keep motivated, remember to bring your headphones.
It’s all going contactless
Steps will be taken to minimise your need to touch things. Contactless payments will likely be taken in your facility for any purchases. Doors will be propped open at all times to avoid you having to open and shut them.
Classes won’t restart straight away
In England, you’ll be able to exercise individually in a fitness facility from April 12th.
Indoor group exercise, however, won’t resume until May 17th. So, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer until you can join a spin session or a HIIT class.
To support the government’s test and trace system, you may need to provide your name and contact details on arrival at reception. This will be kept for 21 days.
If you’re contacted due to a case of COVID-19 connected with the time of your gym visit, you must self-isolate for 10 days as instructed.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, you must get a test. You and other members of your household must self-isolate until you get your test results. If your test is negative, you must still isolate for 10 days. If your test is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms first started.
Things you can do:
The NHS and GOV.UK websites have lots of information on what you need to do during this time to help keep yourself and others safe. The information below has been taken from these sources.
Keep washing your hands
On arrival at the gym, wash your hands straight away. Before you touch any equipment.
When you’re finished, rewash your hands before heading out. It sounds obvious but keeping your hands clean is a very effective way of making sure you don’t pass on or pick up any infection.
There should be plenty of hand sanitiser available on the gym floor to keep you topped up too.
Don’t touch your face
In between the times you’re able to wash your hands, it’s important not to touch your face to stop any infection from entering your body.
That includes your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Keep your hands on the dumbbells and not on your face.
Know when you should wear a mask
Masks are not mandated in the gyms, meaning you don’t have to wear one when you work out. If you prefer to wear a mask, that’s up to you.
Masks should be worn in conditions where you’re unable to social distance, so whilst not wearing one in the gym, make sure you maintain the 1m distance from others at all times.
If you take public transport to and from the gym, you should wear a mask on your journey.
Bring your own towel
Make sure to bring your own sweat towel to keep yourself cool and dry during your workout. Try not to place it on any equipment that might soon be used by others.
If you’re using the pool or need to shower and change, bring your own towel as your facility might not provide them anymore. Make sure to wash it in between gym visits.
Wipe down equipment after use
This is something you should have always done, but it’s even more critical now. When you’re finished with a piece of equipment, wipe it down.
Your gym should have plenty of antibacterial wipes and sprays for you to do this. Always make time for the wipe down.
Bring your own water bottle
There will be no communal drinks fountains available, so make sure to bring your own water bottle. Bring enough to keep you going for your entire session.
Keep your distance from others
Respect other people’s right to the 1m distance. Don’t forget, it’s not just for you, it’s for them too. Assume everyone wants at least that much space. Let them work out comfortably and safely. There will be plenty of guidance in your gym to let you know how many people can work out in one area at a time.
Whether it’s waiting for someone to finish using a bit of kit, waiting in line to get into a particular area, or waiting for something to be cleaned properly. Be patient.
We’re all trying to navigate this new normal the best way we can. It’s going to take some figuring out to do, but we will get there.
So, make sure to do your bit. Reduce your risk. Respect yourself, your gym, and others. That way, we can all continue to fit fitness in.
To find out more information about your passes and unpausing them, please visit our FAQ section.
For more information on COVID-19 and the sport, gym, and leisure facilities, please read the complete government guidance here.
For more information on the test and trace system, please read the government guidance here.
For more information about COVID-19, it’s symptoms, and how to book a test, please visit the NHS website.