The gyms are opening, how excited are you?

The gyms are opening, how excited are you?

‘Step Two’ of the lockdown roadmap in England begins on April 12th, which for some is long awaited and much needed. Different households must not deliberately aim to mix in the gym, only working out with those who live together is allowed.

Gyms are thought to be more high risk than any other indoor venue because people exercising expel more droplets as they breathe more deeply. There are no current requirements or rules with regard to wearing masks whilst exercising inside or out, and there is little scientific consensus as to whether wearing one if you want to is in any way detrimental or dangerous to your health.

That said studies are being carried out to see if CO2 levels are an issue. The thinking being that, by covering your mouth and your nose whilst engaging in a high impact exercise, may be inhibiting your breathing to some extent and possibly raising the rate of levels of carbon dioxide you’re breathing out. The health implications at this point are unclear.

Social distancing, regular cleaning, ventilation and other Covid-secure measures are also expected to apply until May 17th, when pools, saunas and steam rooms will re open, and exercise classes will resume.

How will all this information affect your thinking?

Will the reduced facilities and possible risks be enough for you to wait to return, if at all?

Home fitness has been in our lives for decades and it’s taken on a new look since the Covid-19 pandemic closed gyms around the UK and beyond. Many have tried to find an effective alternative to the Gym within their own four walls.

Whether it’s a yoga class on Zoom, following fitness influencers on social media or an impulse purchase of a Peloton! Finding somewhere to work out at home is relatively easy, not too much space or equipment is needed, if you live on your own!

Sharing a home has really taken on a new meaning over the last year, the home office may work well for you, but when you have a household where working at home for 1-4 or more has become the norm it’s a work out in itself! Once you’ve relocated the home schooling area, negotiated with the children that you too have TV rights, found some floor space or located a room you can have for 20 minutes to yourself, you’re off!!

There are no financial costs to outlay, unless you want a treadmill or other large piece of equipment, sales of fitness equipment shot up by 55% during lockdown, good luck with buying a bike! No fancy work-out clothes needed, PJ’s will suffice, where as the gym really frown upon this!!

The downsides are interruptions, distractions and lack of company. There’s something about being in a gym, sweating along with everyone else! It can energise you and push you harder. There are plenty of pluses though, the variety of places and ways in which you can exercise. There’s the garden if you have one, the local park where at various times you have been able to work in small groups with a coach, or use the Calisthenics facilities that are becoming more present in our parks thanks to the number of new developments and the insight of Architects and designers.

Obviously the amenities at the gym are in an abundance compared to a home fitness regime. The options are endless, you can mix and match all you want, putting weights and cardio together, throwing in an occasional Pilate’s class, whatever floats your boat.

This is great for the more impulsive exercisers who want to mix things up. If you’re a cardio machine person, your choices are the treadmill, elliptical, stairclimber, stair stepper, stationary bike, and rowing machine…it goes on and on. Those working at muscle development have a plethora of machines, free weights, cable machines, & bands.

Another big attraction are fitness classes, and there’s  all the other ‘goodies’ on offer, like a pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, personal coach, the option of services like childcare, and if you’re really pushing the boat out there may be beauty therapies & services.

Committing to a monthly membership fee, being locked into a fixed term contract means you need to know you’ll use it sufficiently to cover costs, be motivated and achieve your personal fitness goals. You also have to factor in travel time, just getting there and back, finding a parking space, getting to the locker room, changing into work-out wear can be the equivalent time you would spend working out at home!

Sometimes finding or justifying the time in your day and balancing work/home life can be hard to find within the dynamics of relationships & family time. How many of us joined a gym with all good intentions and barely used it, spending more time in the café/restaurant or in the hot tub? That said is that such a bad thing if relaxing, getting some space and finding time for yourself is what is healthy for your mental wellbeing?

What the 1PS Team Think

I recently posed a number of questions to several 1PS employees who regularly exercise in one form or another.

Asked if the pandemic had altered their view on returning to the gym or continuing as they had been during lockdown, both Meg & Kirsty said they will return to the Gym, “there is only so much you can do at home and I struggle to get into the right mindset to workout at home” said Kirsty. Meg said “In the first lockdown I was determined to keep active and join in on the live workouts people were hosting on Instagram, and more recently started running.” Lack of space in the shared home was definitely a deciding factor for Meg.  

Chris doesn’t feel the same so won’t be returning “I believe Gym’s being shut has forced me to educate myself better on what is actually good for my body, what exercises you can do using your own body weight in order to keep in good shape. I’ve been using climbing frames, monkey bars at local parks as a good alternative to gym equipment and feel I’m in better physical shape than prior to the first lockdown

I was interested to know what, if anything they had missed about going to the Gym in the last year. Meg & Chris agreed that they missed the social side of working out with someone at a gym “I used to go with my friend and that would be our time to catch up sometimes” said Meg “working out at the gym with a friend after work is sometimes good therapy! said Chris. Both Kirsty & Meg miss the equipment choice, particularly the weights. “It’s hard to replicate that at home, especially with heavy weights”

When asked about concerns of potential risks in using the Gym Meg & Kirsty both said they had no concerns as their gyms had protocols and Covid safe procedures in place.Chris said he would have concerns about Covid-19 risks in returning to a gym and raised the issue of wearing face masks “a lot of gyms that are open in America require you to wear facemasks when exercising at a gym, we could minimise risk by implementing the same!”  

Meg explained “my gym is pretty good with keep track of how many people are in the gym at one time, at peak times you have to book online to secure your space. When you enter the gym, you have to pick up your own cloth and spray bottle and clean all the equipment before and after use, when you leave you put your spray and cloth in a box” Kirsty said “I will go in with a plan of exactly what I want to do, and a way to go about it using a minimal amount of equipment and obviously cleaning the equipment”

Mixed reactions as to whether the pandemic changed the way they think about the money they’d spend on gym membership having found alternate ways to exercise? Meg said that “whilst it’s been nice to save money I plans to go to the gym four times a week, and that money is easily justifiable”, Chris on the other hand said “Absolutely! I was spending about £600 a year on gym memberships previously. I have found a way to exercise and get in even better shape, using completely free equipment. This is money that can be used to book a holiday…once we can of course!

It’s evident that the future for them in regard to how they see their fitness regime continuing or changing has been influenced to some degree by the pandemic. It’s clear that commitment is a very personal objective and the way in which we make it work for ourselves can only be of huge benefit to a long term healthy body and mind.

Remember the mantra,
‘Hands, face, space and fresh air’
When it comes to exercising outdoors.