From 29th March 2021, gyms and group exercise classes in England will start to resume due to relaxation of COVID19 rules. You may have spent lockdown exercising at home, taking advantage of the plethora of online fitness classes, or have switched to a new form of fitness like cycling, running, or walking to stay active. But are you craving your usual group exercise class? We feel the same!
This guide will help you understand the measures your group exercise instructor will be taking to make sure you and your classmates are safe, so all you have to do is enjoy a little slice of normality.
Travel to and from my class
Participants should follow UK Government guidance on travel. You can use public transport but it is better to travel in other ways if possible such as driving (only with members of your own household), walking or cycling.
When I get to my class
Procedures will have been put in place to keep you safe. As per the last easing of restrictions, you may find that you enter your class via one door and leave via a different exit. This is to make sure that there is not congestion in small areas between classes and helps cut unnecessary contact. You will be encouraged to maintain social distancing throughout your class, but also when arriving and leaving.
Like many public places, handwashing/hand sanitiser stations will be important. You will be encouraged to use these before and after your workout.
Instructors may ask you to book your class in advance. Where this is the case, you are likely to be asked to transfer the class payment fee online to reduce the exchange of cash. Contactless payments may also be taken at the venue as another alternative to cash.
The other reason you may be asked to book is so the instructor can maintain a record of participants as part of the NHS Test and Trace programme. This means that in the event that one of your class test positive for COVID19, you will be alerted and can take the necessary precautions.
How many people will be in my class?
Relaxations to the rules for the fitness industry, which come into effect on Monday 29th March 2021, mean that classes outdoors can resume. Classes outdoors can now have up to 30 people (this includes the instructor, spectators, staff, and participants) taking part.
This makes a group exercise class a wonderful way to catch-up with friends you may not have been able to see for a while (at a safe distance) with the added benefit of staying active. Win, win.
All group exercise classes are different. If you are attending a class where movement is a key part of the session (think dance fitness classes where you may be asked to move a few steps to your left or right) you will be given a space that is 3 metres between participants. As with all business models, the minimum social distance that should be upheld is 2 metres. Having 3 metre by 3 metre spaces for you to perform your movements will allow for any mistakes or slower movement and still mean you are maintaining that 2 metre distance from your neighbouring participant.
Some classes, like yoga, Pilates, or seated classes will see you perform movement in a set space. When you are in a class that requires this, you are likely to only have 2 metres between you and the next participant. This is because you will need less space to keep that minimum 2 metre safe distance.
Your instructor will be making sure that this space is measured so you can do enjoy the class safely.
What should I do if I am worried?
It is natural to feel anxious about what your class may be like, but instructors want to you feel confident and happy to be back in their class. If you have any worries or concerns about returning to your group exercise class, you can contact your instructor for more information. Instructors will be best placed to advise you on ways they are mitigating risks so you can enjoy your usual group exercise class without worrying about the transmission of COVID19.