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How gym closures affected the fitness industry during Covid lockdowns

Gym closures affected the fitness industry significantly during the Covid-19 lockdowns this year, but there has been debate around whether they really needed to be closed.

Andy Edwards, transformation coach at Graft Haus gym in Leeds, said: “People see the benefits of mental health when exercising and it being in people’s routines on a daily basis, and [the Government] promoting having a healthy immune system as one of the side effects of exercise, I just can’t understand why things were shut off.

“It left a lot of people feeling very confused and very lost. The implications of closing it off definitely affected a lot of people negatively.

“There’s other things like fast food places that stayed open, which aren’t necessarily beneficial or essential. It’s been a bit confusing and conflicting if anything.”

Andy explained how he transitioned his coaching service online during the lockdown so that people could achieve the same goals but using a different method.

He found that the second lockdown was a lot harder than the first, and that having to exercise outside on cold winter mornings meant that his clients’ motivation suffered.

Fitness Coach Andy Edwards and Amateur Boxer, Michael Hall discussing how the closures affected them

Now the gyms are open, Graft Haus has put measures in place, such as social distancing restrictions, temperature checks when entering, antibacterial sprays provided to clients, and hand sanitizers throughout the gym, to ensure it remains safe despite being in a Tier 3 Zone. 

Michael Hall, an amateur boxer explained how he has not been able to compete for almost a year due to gym closures.

He said: “I don’t think there was much reason for them shutting, I think gyms became a lot cleaner following Covid restrictions.

“Gyms are a good place for people to get away from personal issues, with all the stress of Covid at the moment and people losing their jobs, it’s normally quite a good release. 

“People really let themselves go over lockdown from lack of facilities and fitness is the key to staying healthy.” 

Data from NHS Track and Trace found that only 2.8% of positive cases could be linked back to a gym facility, whereas 11.2% could be linked to supermarkets, 7.4% to pubs and bars and 6.8% to secondary schools.

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