Are you ready for the gyms opening?
Yet another channel for normal life will soon be opening up – the sports and fitness centres. Gyms and sports coaching centres, closed since March this year, have been reeling under losses. They will be opening for business again in August and for fitness enthusiasts, who have missed their daily dose of weight-lifting, the news is music to their ears.
But before we jump into the ring, we must understand the advantages and the risks involved. It would be tragic if we went in search of good health to the gyms and swimming pools only to be exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact is most serious fitness practitioners have built an alternative routine for themselves outside the gym.
Even those who don’t have the space at home for a home-gym, have started walking, running or doing something sporty to stay fit. Of course we go to the gym for serious exercise and the camaraderie of like-minded fitness fans. This cannot be replicated in solo exercise schedules.
But gyms and sports training centres are places of high contact and sports is sweaty work. Bodily fluids such as sweat, saliva and discharge can contaminate surfaces and surroundings and we must be scrupulously clean ourselves and insist on a very high level of hygiene and care from these centres when we return to them.
There is talk of a BD 4 million rescue fund from Tamkeen for gyms and the sports industry in Bahrain. I hope authorities will clearly write into the fund that a percentage of the support money should be spent on upgrading hygiene and building in social distancing into gym routines so that these places are not overcrowded.
Like salons, members must only use gyms by appointment and for strictly monitored time periods so that everybody gets a chance to use the facilities. I have heard that in many professional sports outfits, the sportspeople are being given supervised exercise schedules to follow so that they don’t lose muscle tone, strength and their sharp reflexes.
We must look into that in Bahrain also for our sports stars who cannot return to high-contact sports fields for football or similar games. This is the time when we must explore other options and use our innovation to reimagine our engagement with sports and fitness. It is not a time to relax and lose one’s focus over fighting the pandemic.