‘Since the crisis, more people are recognising the importance of being fit for fighting off Covid-19,’ he says, underlining the urgent link between exercise and our mental and physical well-being. He points to evidence that lockdown has considerably impacted how much many of us move: ‘We have lost those peaks of activity we used to have when we were going about our normal working day. We’ve become more sedentary than we were when we were in the office.’ These observations are backed up by a recent poll of 2,000 adults, which found that activity levels have fallen by a quarter since lockdown and a third of us have gained weight.
So what will our old favourites look like? There will be a host of standard measures including two-metre social distancing, amped-up ventilation, a maximum gym capacity based on 100sq ft per person, rigorous cleaning protocols, all towels banned from studios and gym floors, and attendees encouraged to arrive and leave in their kit. Face-to-face workouts will be banned. In addition to this, gyms will add their own extras to boost consumer confidence and staff safety. Here are some of the things you can expect:
‘Touchless’ Pilates and yoga and bring your own boxing gloves
When it comes to boutique fitness studios, there’ll be reduced capacity, shorter classes, staggered starts to ease flow in and out, and more time before and after class for cleaning.
At London’s Frame gym, which plans to open in August, members will be invited to turn up ‘workout ready’ and wear yoga socks. Expect less equipment in class (no boxing gloves, for example), although for some, such as barre, you will be given a small basket of equipment beforehand to avoid queuing. Stickers will mark where you should stand.
More intense cardio-based classes will be held in the open air until further notice, while Pilates and yoga will be a socially distanced ‘touchless experience’, with instructors teaching from the front of the class. But the focus at Frame will be on enjoying your class. ‘One of our mission statements is, “Kill the virus, not the vibe,”’ says Frame head of studios Jaimie Chin-Dickey. ‘People come to our classes for an endorphin high – fitness is meant to be fun and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.’