South Tyneside gyms see membership boost as hundreds return to exercise
Hundreds of people have returned to training at gyms across South Tyneside as restrictions were finally eased.
Manager Dale Crawford said it remained busy throughout the day as many people were keen to get back into a training routine following months of closure during the latest lockdown.
“We opened at 6am and there were 67 people in at that time as they had been queueing outside.
"It was busy and a really successful day.
"When we opened up after the previous lockdown the amount of people signing up [as new members] was not that big as I think people were worried about coming into the gym.
"But now the vaccine is coming in I think people think; ‘I’m ready to go back.’”
The Gym Group says more than 100 new members joined on Monday and 80 people had signed up on Sunday, April 11, ahead of it reopening.
Dale said: "We always had the young people come back after the [previous lockdowns] but what we are seeing this time round is the demographic is more spread out – older people have had their vaccine and feel safer now.
"We have seen a lot of our older members back and I think that is down to the vaccine as they don’t feel as much at risk.”
The gym confirmed it is now open 24/7 which will give people the flexibility to pick quieter times that suit them.
Classes at The Gym Group won’t be running until at least May, so in the meantime the studio space is being used for training.
Owner, Rhys Iles said it had been the ‘hardest lockdown yet’ and was pleased to see people returning after months of closure.
He said: “It went really well. The old faces were back and there were also a lot of new ones.
"We had 150 people through the door over the course of the day and everyone was buzzing to be back.
"Everyone is happy to be back in the gym and to see people again.”
Covid-19 safety measures remain in place in the gym including a one-way system has been introduced with separate entry and exit points, social distancing markings on the floor and hand sanitiser stations installed throughout the gym.
Each machine has its own secure area marked out, with wipes and sanitiser provided for people to wipe down the equipment before and after use.
Ant Clennan, owner of South Tyneside Kettlebells (STK Fitness) based on Randolph Street, Jarrow, said it was good to be back training clients once again.
He said: “It was a really good day and it was nice to be back after such a long period of time.
"A lot of regular faces have returned, we had around 90 people throughout the day.
"There is a massive social aspect with the gym, we’re like a family.”