As strict hygiene measures are being planned and put in place for the reopening of gyms around the country, there are cost concerns around the ‘Joe Wicks effect’, and the increase in home workouts having a negative impact on gym memberships. Every day during the coronavirus lockdown, the government has hammered home the need for the public to take daily exercise. The irony is that the UK’s more than 7,000 gyms and leisure centres are shut, leaving the population to improvise with Joe Wicks on YouTube and cobbled-together workouts in the park.
With 10.4m memberships across the country, and an £8bn-a-year industry that employs around 190,000 people – double that, if the likes of personal trainers are included, what will the effect of the pandemic have on the industry as we now know gyms will be among the last businesses to reopen come the summer. Have we now become more conscious about our health and the environment we put ourselves in when exercising, will we ever want to sweat en masse again and be more inclined to exercise within fresh open areas outside? With restrictions in place, do the numbers add up for gym operators any more as well? In the meantime, the industry is designing a new fitness regime to address the health warning hanging over shared treadmills, dumbbells and exercise mats.
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