Gym companies Virgin Active and Planet Fitness are at the advanced stages of engaging with government about safely reopening gyms…
The protocol measures were presented and submitted in the hope of positive feedback within the coming weeks.
Dr Georgia Torres, an exercise psychologist at the Witwatersrand University, said exercising was becoming a necessity as it assisted in reducing the severity of the virus.
“There is no debate on the impact of exercise during this time,” Torres said. “We have seen the rates of infections increase amongst those who are diabetic and obese. This could be because people find it harder to exercise at home because they miss the motivation from instructors in gyms and those of private instructors.”
Protecting staff & members is critical
Managing director of Virgin Active SA Mark Field said a balance between protecting its members and staff was important. The company would look into hiring private transport to avoid its staff using public transport, or would encourage a carpool system.
He said hygiene at clubs would be amplified by regularly sanitising equipment and not allowing certain exercise activities such as swimming or the use of showers.
“We have seen a huge drop in our online workouts since outdoor exercise was allowed. People are seeing the importance of exercising,” Field said. “About 85% of our members have agreed to come back to the club while we are focused on screening and social distancing.”
“About 85% of our members have agreed to come back to the club while we are focused on screening and social distancing.”
Members would be given space in which to train and would use their own towels, Field said.
CEO of Planet Fitness and Justgyms Manny Rivera said the group was concerned about the mental health of its members during the pandemic.
Members would have to make reservations to attend group exercises and would be expected to bring along an extra face mask in case of sweating, he said.
“We will allow a 10-square-meters distance for members to exercise. Handwashing before and after exercises and the use of your own towel is important,” Rivera said.
Sonri Naidoo – Citizen
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