After months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, gyms in Scotland are preparing to reopen to the public on Monday.
The move is the latest measure in easing lockdown restrictions and has been welcomed by those in the fitness industry.
Gyms have been busy installing safety measures and ensuring clients are socially distanced when they come back.
However there are fears members the public will be wary of returning to fitness facilities.
Irene Shopp, from Nuffield Health in Glasgow, is optimistic many clients will be keen to get back to their routine.
“We do expect numbers to be not as they were before lockdown, but what were finding is usage is gradually increasing as time goes on and members confidence is there, the more people that are using our facilities are feeding back to us that actually this is a safe environment, I’m comfortable, I’m going to that gym, and then they are telling their friends.
“So we are seeing those numbers increase as the weeks go on.”
For some fitness groups, lockdown provided an opportunity for people to grow their businesses.
The Kilted Coaches, run by Rab Shields and Stephen Clarke, made use of the outdoors to train clients.
“People were looking for ways to exercise at home when they were specifically not allowed to go outside for more than an hour at a time,” Rab explains.
“When they were trying to get outdoors they were maybe using that time to walk their dogs or just get fresh air in general.
“More and more people were looking for exercise routines that they could do at home with very little equipment, which suited us perfectly because our business is all online, our programmes are designed for one piece of equipment and the body.”
“We hope people feel more empowered,” adds Stephen.
“A lot of people felt disempowered when lockdown happened, they felt like choices were taken away from them and we’ve been trying to push the message that you have all the choices you’ll ever need and you’re in control of your own life whether in a gym or the outdoors, or any other means of fitness, it is the individual who makes their own choices in life.”
Some fitness classes have relocated outdoors following gym closures, with one bootcamp class in Glasgow training near Kelvingrove museum.
Participants say they enjoy the classes but as the seasons begin to change, weather can become an issue.
“I think I’m going to stick to outside, it’s fun, it feels better,” explains one woman.
“I really enjoy working out outside but I would like the option to go to the gym, especially when it’s a rainy day,” adds another.
As the popular industry prepares to reopen, time will tell if clients will be running back to use their facilities.
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