Vaccinated people are now able to spend time indoors, maskless, less than 6 feet apart. For fitness enthusiasts, that means that group classes are back in session! But does that mean that the gym owners, trainers, and employees are ready to be back?
While vaccinations are readily available in the U.S., only about half of Americans are vaccinated. And, people under 16 are not yet eligible (as of writing) and face a higher risk of contracting COVID. So, while your trainers may be safe, they could still be facing a lot of fear around spreading the disease to vulnerable people in their life.
Here are a few ways that you can protect and support your staff and gym members during this time.
1. Help People Ease Back In
Although there were more at-home workout options than ever this past year, people likely weren’t doing as much vigorous activity as before. Consider offering members with consultations to provide activities recommendations and physical activity guidelines to help prevent injury and see results. Plus, offer more classes and workouts at a moderate intensity and check in more with your members who are working at a high intensity.
Additionally, some people may not want to return due to a certain health condition or other reason. No matter how much you tell people to wash your hands, this won’t change. For these members, make it easy for them to leave. They’ll be much more likely to come back when they do feel safe than if you try to argue the point with them.
2. Offer Outdoor Activities
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people re-discovered a love of the great outdoors. Consider offering member activities outside of the facility, like guided hikes, yoga in a park, and group runs. Since people breathe more heavily during aerobic activities, moving them outside can help slow the spread of airborne illnesses. And, by having fewer members in the studio, you’ll be able to maintain physical distancing more easily.
3. Support Mental Health
Although many people are ready to “get back to normal,” 2020 was nothing but normal. Remember that you don’t know everything that everyone is dealing with, whether the loss of loved ones, stress of managing at-home schooling and remote work, or feelings of isolation from spending so much time alone. People joked about gaining the “quarantine fifteen,” but there are more serious cases of anxiety and depression as a result of a year inside.
Keep in mind that being healthy is both physical and mental. Consider offering mental health benefits as part of your employee health insurance and including classes on mindfulness and meditation for your members.
Just like how none of us were prepared for COVID-19, none of us know what to expect next as the world starts reopening. As a gym owner, you’re responsible for the health and well-being of your employees, your members, and by extension, your community. Be empathetic and kind as you help everyone ease back into their fitness routines to help do your part to keep people happy and healthy.