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What it’s like inside a Cardiff gym after lockdown

If there is one place that I’ve missed during lockdown, it isn’t the pub or shopping on the highstreet, it’s the gym.

As of yesterday (Monday 10 August), gyms across Wales can finally open their doors again as part of the latest changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.

Since the closure of gyms in March, I have been trying to get outside everyday and at least go for a walk or the occasional (very rare) jog around where I live. I’ve managed to get into a bit of a routine, walking on average 10km at a time, which allows me to close my move and exercise rings on my Apple Watch – yes I’m one of those people.

Like many, I’ve been working from home and on an average day, I’ll barely make 2,000 steps by 5pm. If I don’t get out and do something then I feel sluggish, and after a while, I’ll get cabin fever and get anxious that I’ve not done anything. That’s why I was glad with the most recent announcement that gyms in Wales can reopen.

I didn’t want to rush back to the gym, but instead I wanted to pick the right moment. This is why I’m glad that the PureGym app allows you to check to see how many people are in the gym live before you go.

My local gym is PureGym at Cardiff Gate and like others, it’s running at limited capacity (approx. 113 spaces). In addition to this, PureGym has introduced a number of safety measures for members, including contactless entry (which I’m a big fan of).

Here’s what you can expect at PureGym

Credit: Rhys Gregory / Wales247

As mentioned, PureGym are limiting the number of people allowed into their gyms. Each gym will vary in its size and capacity, so check the app for your local gym. It’s also worth checking the app so that you can see how many people are currently there, I found this particularly handy when planning my return. Apparently, Monday – Wednesday between 5pm and 8pm are the busiest, so I’m avoiding that.

When you arrive, the outer doors are automatic during normal opening hours, so there is no need to press or touch anything upon entering. This has always been the case, but it’s good to know.

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Credit: Rhys Gregory / Wales247

Once inside, you’ll find floor stickers on the steps leading up to the gym, which ask you to keep to one side (left). This was fine when I came in, but I noticed that not all gym-goers could follow this simple instruction.

Credit: Rhys Gregory / Wales247

When you get to the gym, there are further markings on the floor to space people out who are queueing to go in. At the time I went, there was no one waiting so it was fine for me to proceed. You’ll notice that there is a hand sanitiser station before you enter too. Simply open the app, select your QR code and scan it to enter the gym – it’s really that simple.

Photo credit: PureGym

When you enter the gym, you’ll notice a number of self-cleaning stations that you can use. It’s recommended that you clean the equipment before and after use. PureGym have said that all equipment will be deep cleaned every night with high-grade anti-viral disinfectant. All of these steps do help give you confidence to return, I just hope that other people are just as cautious and adhere to the recommendations.

Credit: Rhys Gregory / Wales247

Equipment has also been spaced out, or if it can’t be, a number of machines have been marked as ‘not in use’ to keep an adequate distance between people.

Other than the gym being quieter than before, you won’t really notice any major changes. I’ve always gone dressed ‘gym ready’ as I live near by, so all in all, it’s a relatively contact free experience. What did take some getting used to, is the fact that it’s the only place I’ve been to where not a single person is wearing a face mask. It’s also weird seeing people in a non-supermarket environment, although that’s probably me just getting used to going outside again. I will be making an effort to go to gym again, but it will be less frequent and I’ll remain cautious.

What has been your experience of going to the gym? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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