They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and after nearly three months without access to gyms and fitness centres, many people would be missing the benefits they provide.
While I have managed to maintain a base level of fitness during lockdown, I have missed having an instructor telling me what to do. I do a couple of gym sessions each week and love that I can switch off while someone else does the thinking for me. Not to mention the fact that I work a lot harder knowing the instructor is watching as well. But it is much more than that.
Gyms are a place of connection with a community feel that you don't get working out at home on your own or going for a run in the dark.
Many gym owners and operators have been critical of the Federal and state governments for providing no clear roadmap on how and when gyms would reopen after being shut down on March 23. So it came as welcome news for all owners and members when it was announced last Tuesday that gyms in NSW can reopen from June 13. Class numbers will be capped at 10 and up to 100 people will be permitted inside at any one time. I for one can't wait to get back to gym and there are several reasons why:
Have you been outside in the morning or evening lately? I managed to get out a few mornings last week but it was dark and it was cold. Getting up in the dark and bitter cold and knowing I am driving to a warm and well-lit gym are sometimes what gets me out of bed for a workout.
From pump classes, to spin classes, to barre, yoga, pilates, body balance, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Zumba, there is no shortage of ways to find a work-out that suits and challenges each individual. The beauty of the gym is you have access to all of the cardio and strength equipment as well.
Gyms are likely to have a first-in-best-dressed booking system while class numbers are restricted. This means once you commit to a class it will be harder to hit snooze instead of getting up because you will know that you have potentially taken someone else's spot. Just knowing that I am paying my $17 a week for a gym membership is enough to make sure I go at least a couple of times a week as well. Instructors also keep you accountable in a class where there is no hiding from the workout, and being part of a class can make you push yourself harder and therefore get more out of a workout.
Many gyms have transitioned to online offerings during lockdown. This has been a great stop-gap solution but there is nothing like being in an actual gym and getting feedback from an instructor on correct technique. It is very hard on your own at home or through an online class to ensure you are maintaining good exercise technique.
There are genuine concerns in the fitness industry around the number of people who may cancel memberships after finding other ways to work out while living in lockdown or after falling into some sedentary habits. Gyms support people on their health and fitness journey and the community can support local business to get back on their feet through membership.
Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.