Prestonians don’t seem to be ready to get back on the treadmills just yet, as a new report says the city is one of the least excited to return to the gym.Advertisement
The government announced last week that gyms will be able to open from Saturday 25 July, letting fitness fanatics get back to their local workout space.
But new analysis of gym-related search trends during the lockdown reveals that Preston residents have not been hot off the mark to see when their gym will be reopening.
Charitable social enterprise Better analysed search trends for gym-related queries such as “when will gyms reopen” and “gym reopening” to discover where the most restless gym-goers live in the UK.
Preston came sixth on the list of cities showing the least interest to put their running shoes back on, with Newport in Wales being the least excited area.
In Preston, JD Gyms, PureGym and Total Fitness have announced they will open straightaway on 25 July, with many small local independents also following suit.
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One of the independent gyms that is set to open on 25 July is The Personal Training Studio in Penwortham.
Owner Michael Brennand, 48, says he is looking forward to reopening his facility and welcoming back his clients.
He said: “It’s been a long time. I’ve tried to keep in contact with my clients to give them something to do during lockdown, and I’ve set lockdown challenges.”
The personal training studio has always been on an appointment booking schedule, meaning measures requiring bookings have not affected how Michael operates.
The gym will be cleaned after each use and as the building has skylights, Michael says he is also able to ensure there is a good air flow.
“We have installed a touch free hand sanitiser station at the entrance and there are other hand sanitiser stations and cleaning stations around the gym.
“The equipment has also been moved at least two metres apart,” he added.
Better, which carried out the analysis, operates West View Leisure Centre and Fulwood Leisure Centre. It has announced plans for a phased reopening of the centres from 25 July.
In the initial phase, the gym, studio space and pool will reopen at Fulwood Leisure Centre. Anyone wishing to use the facilities will need to pre-book a time slot via the Better app or website.
Equipment within gym areas will be reduced to ensure that two metres social distancing between users is maintained. Some fitness classes will be relocated to sports halls or even, weather permitting, outdoors.
Staff will be adopting a new, enhanced cleaning regime, while customers will be asked to wipe down the equipment that they have used. Hand sanitiser will be available throughout leisure centre buildings.
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All Better members at West View Leisure Centre will be invited to use Fulwood Leisure Centre during the initial phase.
They will also be given the option to continue to freeze their memberships as will any members who don’t feel confident returning to the centres initially or who might have health conditions that put them at higher risk of infection from Covid-19.
Gareth Kirk, Regional Director for Better Leisure Centres in Preston, said: “After nearly four months of lockdown, we’re delighted to finally be able to reopen leisure centres, albeit at reduced capacity initially.
“Our key priorities are to ensure customer and staff safety and build customer confidence.
“That’s why we’re phasing in our reopenings – to ensure that the systems we have put in place are Covid-Secure and working at an optimum level, before we roll out further.
“We recognise that some people may be worried about returning to their local leisure facilities, so we will continue to offer free access to online fitness and exercises classes via our Better app.”
See what leisure businesses are open in your area
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Better’s National Head of Health and Fitness, Marco Coppola said: “It will be paramount to gain the trust of returning customers that the gym environment is safely social distanced and well-maintained. Operators list of considerations may include reducing capacity, extending cleaning rotas and offering bookable timed slots rather than ‘walk ups’.”
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