Fitness Industry Roundup: A Look Into Gyms Reopening & Safety

Drops in COVID-19 cases lead to the reopening of businesses in several states, plus news on health club safety, and how children with learning and physical difficulties improve their communication skills while exercising.

As vaccine distribution broadens, states and regions have loosened COVID-19 restrictions on businesses—bringing life that much closer to normal. While the reopening process trickles on, it’s key to continue to follow the safety protocols and risk mitigation measures to help reduce the spread.

This week’s roundup highlights regions of the U.S. that have reopened health and fitness clubs, a study that suggests mask-wearing during exercise is safe, a new product that keeps gym-goers’ equipment sanitized, and the exercise children with learning and physical difficulties are doing to improve their communication skills.

Los Angeles County Allows Gyms to Resume Indoor Operations

Health and fitness clubs in Los Angeles County, CA, are authorized to reopen indoors at 10% capacity. Brian Whelan, owner of Foothill Gym in Monrovia, CA, is optimistic about the loosening restrictions. He told KTLA, “A lot of people have suffered loss of jobs so we’re glad to be providing employment and keep everybody’s level of sanity, health, and fitness during the pandemic.” Masks are required in health clubs, gyms, and studios across L.A.

Indoor Fitness Classes Up & Running in New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that indoor fitness classes are permitted and lifted the 11 p.m. curfew for gyms and other businesses. New York lawmakers continue to assess the data and are expected to release an update in April. According to NBC New York, Cuomo said, “As we re-open and an increasing number of New Yorkers receive their vaccines, it is more important than ever to continue the practices we know stop the spread of COVID-19."

Read Cuomo’s update on the COVID-19 vaccine, cases, and protocols.

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Exercising in a Face Mask is Safe for Healthy Adults, Study Suggests

A recent study published in the European Respiratory Journal finds that mask-wearing during vigorous exercise has a minute impact on performance. "Although these results are preliminary and need to be confirmed with larger groups of people, they seem to suggest that face masks can also be worn safely for indoor sports and fitness activities, with a tolerable impact on performance,” said Sam Bayat, professor and chair of the European Respiratory Society Clinical Respiratory Physiology, Exercise, and Functional Imaging Group. Pharmacy Times reports that the study group consisted of 12 healthy adults. On average, there was a reduction of approximately 10% in the participants’ ability to execute aerobic exercise.

Read more about the study.

Health Club Owner Produces New Antimicrobial Gym Equipment Grips

Symagrips, the first-of-its-kind antimicrobial hand grips, are integrated with SteriTouch—which eradicates bacteria, viruses, and microbes—and designed to protect gym users from COVID-19 transmission while using gym equipment. Personal trainer, sports scientist, and owner of Ultimate Fitness Cheshire in the U.K., Mike Wood, came up with the idea. Wood told the Warrington Guardian, “Symagrips provides the perfect solution as viruses and microbes are eradicated by the antimicrobial properties in the handgrips. Our members feel more at ease returning to the gym when restrictions lift due to the protection we have in place.”

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Source: Symagrips

Learn more about Symagrips.

England Center Offers Children With Special Needs & Disability Rebound Therapy

To improve the communication skills in children with physical and learning difficulties, the Rob Armstrong Rebound Therapy Centre at Hadrian School in England uses trampolines. The BBC reports that the vibrations provide a vital form of therapy and exercise. Rob Oglethorpe, therapist, said, "Rebound therapy has a lot of benefits for profoundly disabled children. It can lower or raise muscle tone, build up muscle memory, and even fatigue children. There's a big sensory aspect to rebound therapy.”

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Source: Steve Brock / BBC

Find out more about Rebound Therapy.

Author avatar

Sami Smith

Sami Smith is IHRSA's Senior Manager of Digital Communications, working to shape the organization's image on various digital platforms. On a typical day, she creates content, delivers impactful communications, and executes targeted marketing efforts to keep IHRSA at the forefront of the industry. Outside of the office, you can find her exploring new destinations, indulging in food, or participating in just about any sport.