COVID-19 update: Returning to the gym

Returning to the gym

The reopening of gyms towards the end of July have been a welcome relief for many avid gym goers. Conversely, gyms across the country saw a spike of memberships cancelled on the same day they were due to reopen. This is undoubtedly becuase many people have now become accustomed to exercising outdoors and don’t feel they need the gym or its services. In any case, the gym remains a vital tool in staying fit and healthy when used sensible. Here are some top tips in how to return to the gym safely.

Where to start?

Going back to the gym after such a long time can be daunting. A great way to ease back in is to continue doing the same exercise routines you have been doing for the past few months, but now in the gym environment. In time, start adapting your exercises, adding in new ones you perhaps haven’t done in a while. Don’t jump straight into something you have never done before (e.g. olympic bar lifts) as you will be asking for an injury

Aerobic and Anaerobic

Mixing up cardiovascular exercise and strength training makes for a healthy and balanced fitness programme. These two elements can be mixed into the same session or kept apart. Aerobic activity such as cross training or spinning can also act as a good warm up (or even cool down) after a strength session e.g. spinning combined with legs strength session or ergo machine combined with upper body strength session.

Push and Pull

If you have decided to hit the weights, try and have a strategy rather than a scattergun approach. Personal trainers can be helpful in giving you ideas on how to do this and create a programme. A concept often used in weight training (machine or free weights) is combining exercises that involve pushing (e.g. bench press, shoulder press) into one session, and pulling (e.g. chin ups, bicep curls) into a different session. Grouping exercises up this way ensures we are working complimentary (synergistic) muscle groups and varying our weight lifting.


Making the most of various classes your gym offers helps spice up the experience. In my experience the most useful have been;

  • Spinning. Excellent cardiovascular workout with minimal impact on joints.
  • Pilates. Great for core and gluteal strength, areas which often get overlooked.
  • Something new. If there ever was a time to try something different to keep fit…it’s now! Examples could be zumba, boxercise, even water aerobics!

Extra precautions?

All registered gyms or fitness centres should be in line with the government advice on safe reopening. Each facility should have a Covid procedure/guidance that is visible for its members, click here to find out more. If you are unsure or concerned, as a member you are within rights to see these policies and challenge. This also applies for fitness classes or exercise groups in enclosed spaces. Good luck and keep safe.

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