All gyms have once again been instructed to close as the country enters a third national lockdown.
Following PM Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday evening, it was declared that the UK will be reentering a national lockdown as of midnight on January 5, similar to the one that took place back in March last year.
Under the new restrictions, that followed the country's move to alert level 5, all indoor gyms and sports facilities across England will close their doors to the public, with exercise limited to once a day within the local area.
The new rules also instruct that all outdoor sports venues, including gyms, tennis courts, golf courses and outdoor swimming pools must close with the exception of elite athletes.
Unlike the lockdown in March however, playgrounds will remain open this lockdown and people are allowed to exercise with one other person from outside of their household or bubble in public.
Following the news of November’s lockdown, gym owners and employees across the country set up petitions and social media campaigns to fight the government’s decision to close all fitness facilities.
The plea was a success, with gyms moving into the ‘essential’ category allowing them to remain open in all areas that fell into tiers 1, 2 and 3. However, unfortunately as the country enters the newer tier 4 model this week, this will not be the case for any city region.
“I think this lockdown is going to hit people hard. Everyone is weary of it now, and the nation’s patience and resilience are diminishing. While home workouts have served a number of individuals in lockdown and certainly done wonders for my business specifically, doing a burpee next to the sofa hasn’t satisfied everyone’s itch to return to the gym.
“Frankly, it is a flooded market for online trainers now and there is huge competition. Ultimately finding good trainers who offer sound advice and progressive programmes is like finding a needle in a haystack. The reality is, no matter how much you try some people just can’t get motivated unless they are paying for a face to face session or attending a gym class.”
“As a business, we have had to postpone the launch of our smart protein vending machine, but we have also spent the time building relationships with gym buying groups so that we are ready to make it happen.”
However, it hasn’t all been negative for fitness brands and companies across the country.
Mark Reynolds, founder of WeMakeGyms.com, a home gym designer and fitter, said:
“Comparing the figures between the point of enquiry to the installation and completion of at home gyms, between August 2019 and August 2020, we have seen an increase of just over 30% in conversion rate.
"This has certainly been one of the biggest jumps we have seen since launching in 2015 and this looks to only be increasing as we head into 2021 and the pandemic continues to change trends, as does people's habit of going to a gym and the perception of an at home gym - even more so amongst our professional sportsmen/women clientele, with the importance of being able to physically and mentally condition themselves at home now so critical.”
Leading fitness app Freeletics, which has over 90,000 users in the UK, saw a 50% increase in people using the app during the first national lockdown between March and June when compared to the same period in 2019.
The app saw a 149% spike in equipment-free bodyweight workouts being used and 327% more runs recorded.
Freeletics training expert, Dr. Missaghi, said:
“Quarantine was used by many to explore or increase exercising with their own bodyweight as the main object of resistance, instead of weights or equipment.
"This is great, as we know that bodyweight HIIT can be just as effective, if not more so, as a workout in the gym with all the gear. It is also really positive to see that people in the UK started to give running a try, which also would have been a much-needed way to get out of the house.”
The new restrictions are expected to remain in place until the middle of February, however it is not guaranteed that the gyms will re-open immediately following this.
In his announcement, the PM said:
“By the middle of February, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups. That means all residents of a care home and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers and everyone clinically extremely vulnerable. If we succeed in vaccinating all those groups, we will have removed those people from the path of the virus.
"There is a time lag between getting the jab and immunity and there is a further lag on the impact on the NHS. If the rollout of the vaccine programmes continue to be successful and if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect, and if everyone plays their part.
"I know how tough this is and I know you have had more than enough government guidance in beating this virus.
"You must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
Boris Johnson said the UK is now rolling out the 'biggest vaccination programme in our history', adding that the arrival of the UK's Oxford vaccine means the pace of vaccination is accelerating.
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