Welcome to your Covid-friendly health club (sorry, the changing rooms are closed)



Barriers around the treadmill, ban on handshakes and one-way system in the kids’ ball pool – is this what the health club of the near future will look like?

Indoor leisure centers in the UK have been closed since the end of March, due to the pandemic, but it is hoped that some in England could start reopening as early as next month. In Scotland, Health Babies will reopen once the country reaches phase three of its lockdown plan, while Wales and Northern Ireland will reopen gyms and indoor pools once they are in. step four.

David Lloyd, who operates 115 leisure centers across the UK, this week announced the launch of a new series of ‘specially developed’ outdoor fitness classes, including cycling, ‘Blaze’ (a type high intensity interval training) and bootcamp style workouts. Currently, they are only offered in groups of six, with plans to expand “as soon as possible”.

Scientists fear indoor recreation centers could act as ‘super-spreading environments’ – a dance class in South Korea has been linked to 112 cases of Covid-19, which has led researchers to conclude in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal that “the humid and hot atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with a turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets.

This means that health clubs will only reopen with a strict set of social distancing measures designed to reduce the transmission of Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19. Together they will profoundly change the way we exercise for the next year or more.

So what will your local health club be like when its doors finally open?

The locker room



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