Gyms and indoor fitness centres have now reopened in England after being forced to close their doors for four months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to reports on social media, people were eager to get back into their fitness routine as many gyms had queues outside from as early as 8am.
But gyms will not look the same as pre-pandemic; there will be new rules and ways of operating to keep everyone safe.
For example, in many gyms, changing rooms and showers will not be available.
Similarly, clients will be required to have their temperature taken upon entry and equipment-use will be limited.
How will this impact the overall gym experience? And will such restrictions inhibit people’s workouts?
As gyms reopen in England, The Independent spoke to four people about what their experiences were like.
Ruth Harrison-Davies, Huddersfield
“It was REALLY well managed, there was directional signage everywhere, lots of hand sanitiser stations, and routes around the gym to ensure people didn’t cross paths.
“The equipment has been moved around to give people enough space to workout without being on top of others.
“My friend and I did some yoga in the studio and each had our own space.
“Obviously it’s odd, and everyone probably feels a little uneasy – but that’s how you feel in every situation now.
“The only downside is not being able to shower. I never thought I’d love to train again, but seeing my friends and supporting my local business is really important to me. I’m super happy to be back, it feels fantastic.”
Aaron Schiavone, Cheltenham
“It felt great to be back at my gym this weekend and I enjoyed seeing old faces again.
“It was quiet but I expected nothing less. It’s going to take some getting used to and PTing may be trickier but I’m sure I’ll adapt. If I’m honest, I have a great gym a home so I’m going to keep training there for now.”
Tim Caldwell, Leicestershire
“I was slightly anxious but excited about heading back to the gym.
“I had no need to worry. They’d planned everything perfectly, anti-bacterial wipes on every station, sanitiser on the way in and all around and anti-bacterial spray available too.
“It was quiet, but you could see how happy people were to be back giving it everything on the equipment! There was a class going on too. The new normal at the gym seems workable to me. I loved being back there exercising – but I might ache a bit tomorrow!”
Linda Sage, Leeds
“At 7.50am this morning, I was queueing to go into the gym, who would have thought!?”
“My lockdown has been very sedentary as I’ve been launching a new business, so I was thrilled to be on the move. I promised myself to workout at home, but the right time never seemed to arrive.
“The gym in the East of Leeds is very large and spacious, only about 10 people went in with me, but many more were there by the time I left. I stayed just over an hour, it was easy to get onto the machines and use the weights. Everyone was respectful, wiping down each piece of equipment after using it and chatty on the bikes and treadmills at a distance.
“The changing rooms were spotless and I was the only one in there. I pushed myself but not too much, as I do want to be able to walk tomorrow!
“I live alone and although I have seen hundreds of people virtually over these past few months, I have only spoken to about eight people in real life. It was so nice to actually have some normality and see people again in the gym.”
Gyms reopen: Long queues as fitness centres reopen in England