“The vast majority of British gym goers (87%) do plan to return when reopening is announced”
Indoor gyms and leisure centres throughout the UK remained shut for a long period due to the ongoing threat of Covid-19.
In a follow up report by The Guardian2 from 28 June, this elongated closure means that things do look grim for this vibrant and very necessary industry.
The frightening statistics estimate that 58,000 jobs are at risk, that 20 % of public swimming pools will close for good and nearly half the nation’s leisure centres might suffer the same fate before the end of the year.
While the article is a cry for government funding, leasing could be another innovative avenue to explore for leisure centres experiencing this unfortunate yet inevitable financial devastation.
Provide for the upcoming demand
In a more refreshing report dated 2 July by Men’s Health3, it is revealed that the vast majority of British gym goers – 87 % in fact – do plan to return when gyms open. The space they will enter won’t look anything like what these punters are used to, however.
The vital measures that indoor gyms should have in place include multiple Perspex screens surrounding equipment, individual cleaning stations, technology that will enable contactless entry, and more – which will of course will come at a formidable cost for this already flailing sphere.
With these factors to consider, the opportunity for chain and boutique gyms to switch to leasing over updating their equipment could be key to their survival.
An essential industry
Lockdown has seen nearly half of Britain gain weight due to having increased access to food, comfort eating, consuming a higher level of alcohol and becoming stress or bored, as reported here at The Evening Standard4.
More alarmingly, there has also been an increase in mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, due to isolation and loneliness, as discovered here by the BBC5.
The need for members of the community to once again have access to an environment where they can engage in a healthy exercise regime to recapture their physical and mental wellbeing could be stronger than ever before.
Public gyms and leisure facilities are not only geared towards maintaining fitness, regular exercise is proven to have a positive impact on many factors including educational attainment, productivity, reducing crime and loneliness, and engaging inactive and disadvantaged communities.
As a spokesperson for the fitness chain PureGym told Men’s Health: "We recognise the positive role we can play in supporting the health of the nation and our members’ desire to build gym workouts back into their lifestyles and look forward to welcoming our members back soon.”
1/Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 06/2020
2/Sean Ingle, The Guardian, 06/2020
3/Daniel Davies, Men’s Health, 07/2020
4/Kim Pearson, The Evening Standard, 05/2020