New outdoor fitness classes which abide by Covid-19 social distancing rules are to be rolled out across David Lloyd health clubs in the UK.
The chain said an expanded range of outdoor activities for up to six adults at a time will be introduced at 50 of its fitness clubs over the coming days.
Up to 90 classes – ranging from “boot camp-style” workouts to pilates and yoga – will be available each week, taking place around the clubs’ external pools, garden areas and tennis courts.
Once gyms are allowed to reopen, the company said 80% of its clubs will also operate “second gyms” in their indoor tennis courts, with equipment spaced apart to meet social distancing measures.
Glenn Earlam, chief executive of David Lloyd Leisure (DLL), said: “Obviously the recent good weather makes it a great time to launch, but none of these new activities are weather dependent, and we plan to continue running them into the future.
“More and more exercise is going outside and we firmly believe the ‘new normal’ in exercising will be all about embracing the great outdoors.”
The company, which has more than 660,000 members across seven European countries, operates more than 100 clubs in the UK.
Mr Earlham said while the outdoor activities will initially be for up to six people, they have been designed to work for larger groups should the Government permit it.
The chain said it had doubled the number of its cleaning staff and introduced screening in its reception and cafe areas.
Under the latest Government guidance, gyms and swimming pools in England can now be used to train elite athletes, but remain closed to the general public.
Mr Earlham said the company was “well ahead” with its planning to reopen all of its facilities – including gyms – once the Government rules change.
He said there was now a “greater emphasis” on cleaning and social distancing protocols, adding: “We are uniquely placed to ensure this as our clubs are large spaces – many of over 100,000sq ft, mainly with large outdoor areas.
“This means not only do our members naturally have lots of room to spread out, but we will also be operating new schedules when we reopen allowing us for example to not only halve the number of people in classes, but also leave time between classes for a robust cleaning process.”
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