Even though we are now a year into this pandemic, many of us are still trying to adjust and navigate through this so-called "new normal" while desperately attempting to maintain a level of normalcy in our day-to-day lives. To sum it up, in March 2020 the world as we knew it turned upside down when the reports of the new virus, called COVID-19, started spreading like wildfire country to country and community to community.if you would like to learn more about the virus, its symptoms and the latest statistic, please visit the following sources: World Health Organization, HSE – Health Service Executive and Government of Ireland.
As the virus gripped the Globe, everyone (well, for the most part..) quickly realised that the action needed to be taken in order for us to be able to protect ourselves and those around us. As the first wave of COVID cases hit, the new rules started getting introduced. These changes and restrictions affected almost everything about our normal existence – the way we accessed work, study, travel, Gym use, shop, dine, socialise, and even how we interacted with our families and loved ones.
Mental health during pandemic
We believe that this topic is not brought up enough as we are consumed by this Global Pandemic. Any change, even a small one, can cause the shock to our nervous system and leave us feeling anxious and distressed. As a result of COVID-19 and in attempts to control the spread of the virus by isolating the population, many governments, including the Irish, have introduced restrictions, which resulted in people being restricted in their movement and face to face communication. Level 5, the level in which Ireland has so far entered 3 times (for a period of minimum 6 weeks each) in the last year, means that all the restaurants, non-essential businesses, gyms and even schools remain closed until the spread subsides.
If these changes were introduced one-by-one over a long period of time, it would have been different. However they came crushing down on us all at once, forcing us to adjust quickly and re-invent our day-to-day lives. Couple that with the daily tragic news of hospitalisations and deaths caused by the virus, and we have got ourselves a nation-wide mental breakdown.
Medical and Fitness Professionals, always say that one of the first steps towards improving your mental health is being physically active. But we too were faced with a challenge, when gyms were categorised as non-essential business and forced to close, leaving people with literally nowhere to turn to. Here at Lifestyle Fitness we do our best to help out the community during times like these by giving out equipment and staying active online to offer nutrition and fitness advice, workout ideas and general support throughout the duration of the lockdowns.
What does all the above mean for Gym Members?
This question has been at the forefront of our minds all through the current restrictions. Please see below how exactly different levels affect our gym members:
• Level 5 assumes all fitness activities are shut down for its duration
• Level 4 Allows Personal Training sessions.
• Level 3 Allows Gyms to open.
• Level 2 Allows Group Fitness Classes to be resumed.
When we eventually re-open we still need to adhere to all guidelines in the constant state of flux that exists because of COVID-19, this means that we cannot drop guard and return to pre-COVID behaviours.
At Lifestyle Fitness we have always maintained exceptionally high hygiene standards and took the cleanliness of our gym very seriously even prior to COVID, this included the chemicals we have used for years to protect our staff, members & our equipment but these days it is particularly important for us to keep raising the standard and introduce new rules to avoid cross-contamination. As staff we meet regularly to discuss training, member safety, hygiene and other topics to ensure the highest standards are maintained. In addition to our dedication to providing a safe environment for our members & staff to train in, we have also introduced to following measures:
• Booking through the Glofox App or Website
✓ This ensures maximum numbers in the Gym at any one time (maximum number has increased to 50 members per hour due to expansion of the gym facilities).
✓ Scan into the gym using updated Glofox barcode scanner on the app.
✓ Booking of more than 1 hour per session is permitted but members must book 2 back-to-back sessions through the Glofox app.
✓ Should the need arise we can use this information for contact tracing purposes.
✓ We no longer allow ‘walk-in’s’ to the gym.
• Introduction of Temperature Testing
✓ We have just installed 2 static thermometers with hand sanitising stations below.
✓ Ensuring everyone is within the safe temperature zone & promotes good hand hygiene.
• Changing and Shower Facilites
✓ Changing facilities have been restricted to 2 members at any 1 time
✓ Showering will resume at Level 3 and below.
• Gym Floor
✓ Upon entry, all members will be provided with their own dedicated spray bottle and microfiber cloth from reception to wipe down equipment used. This will be returned to a separate area to be cleaned and recycled.
✓ Our staff will also be following up to ensure the highest possible standards are maintained.
✓ We introduced a ‘POD’ system to ensure there was a 2-meter separation gap between our members whilst working out. Currently we have 50 clearly marked ‘PODs’.
✓ Only 1 member per ‘POD’ is allowed at any one time.
✓ Multiple hand sanitizing stations conveniently situated around the entire gym including all entry and exit points.
✓ Masks are not currently required to be worn in the gym.
If you were worried or had any concerns about attending the gym during Levels 4-2, we hope that this article helped answer some of your questions and made you feel a little bit more confident in the fact that our gym is a safe environment to train during these difficult times. Our members', staff and their families' safety and well-being is the number one priority for us at Lifestyle Fitness, and it is in our best interest to keep our community COVID-free so that we could remain fully operational and open to public for as long as possible. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out; you can find our contact details here: Get in touch