With gyms and pools re-opening on July 25, 2020, what will it be like for members and visitors going back to these premises?

Social distancing measures will apply with equipment spaced out. Or, in the case of rows of treadmills and bikes, some will be turned off to create space between users. There will also be smaller class sizes.

Gyms are being encouraged to use timed booking systems too, to limit the number of people at one time. Visitors will also be encouraged to shower at home, although changing rooms will be open.

Some gyms chains, including the Bannatyne Group, will be temperature testing members on arrival. They will also be operating one-ways systems around the gyms, where feasible, so members start their workout in one area and move on to the next. So, you may have to redesign your workout if you used to do exercises in a specific order. 

Staff at Bannatyne will also be wearing masks, though members will not be required to. 

We spoke to Parvinder Sagoo, lead medical advisor of Simply Meds, to get some safety tips when visiting gyms and health clubs.

1. Keep your distance

“Most gyms should have social distancing measures in place to help people keep at least one metre away from each other. Gyms should also operate a one-in-one-out system, and they should be monitoring how many people are in the building at one time. However, if you have an underlying health issues or complications, I’d advise not visiting gyms or pools just yet. “

2. Use hand sanitiser

“Take a few things with you: hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes, a spare bag to put dirty clothes in and anti-bacterial spray to spray down equipment before and after use.” 

3. Keep your kit close and in bags

“Avoid busy, cramped changing rooms. Keep personal items in a zipped-up bag. Put your sweaty kit it into a plastic bag once you change out of it, and then also put it into a zipped-up bag. Once you get home, put your gym kit on a hot wash.”

4. Clean the equipment

“Use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down mats or weights you use. Make sure you wipe down the handles of dumbbells, kettle bells and bar weights. Also wipe the control pads on treadmills and bikes etc. Do this before and after use.”

5. Remember to sanitise before heading home

“Sanitise your hands on your way out of the gym. If you didn’t shower in the changing rooms, you may want to use a wet wipe on your face too, just to ensure it is clean and free from sweat before you get into the car.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Antibacterial wipes and gels only kill bacteria, not viruses. If you’re concerned about touching equipment, invest in a pair of weight-lifting gloves and wear them throughout your session. Put them into a plastic bag when finished. Wash them on hot when you get home. Also, simply wash your hands well with soap and water before leaving the gym and when arriving back home – this is proven to remove most bacteria and viruses if done correctly).