"I think its clear that people have been itching to get back to the gym and re-build their fitness levels after four months of lockdown."
A state-of-the-art sport and fitness facility had ten times the number of new sign-ups during its first week since re-opening than it would have expected in the same period pre-lockdown.
The Sports and Wellness Hub at the University of Warwick re-opened on 25 July and has seen more than 100 new members and 4,400 visitors through its doors.
It comes as the Government urged the public to get active with its new health and fitness campaign and people look to get back to fitness following lockdown.
Visitors to the world-class facility have been able to use the gym, swimming pool and take part in fitness classes over the last week – and now the climbing centre, squash and badminton courts are available as part of the phased re-opening.
Measures have been introduced to ensure social distancing by utilising the spacious design of the building while surfaces that are regularly touched are being disinfected by staff to keep members safe.
Phoebe Aston, 22 from Coventry, is one of the 102 new members at the facility. She said: “It’s been really good and I haven’t thought about coronavirus once. When you come here because the gym is so big, you don’t really notice people around you.
“The carrying the anti-bacterial spray is different but I feel completely safe while I’m here. I’d definitely encourage more people to get back out there, getting your endorphins back and you feel so much better after doing some exercise.”
David Smithson, 54 from Kenilworth, uses the gym with his 16-year-old son Noah. He said: “It’s been fine. There are a few stations out of operation to help with social distancing but the fear of contamination is really low.
“In the gym you always wiped down equipment anyway, only difference is now you use disinfectant and I think measures like that will stay.
“It’s a personal choice to come back but from my perspective I don’t feel any risk here, and there is probably a greater risk going shopping.”
Husband and wife Alan and Paddy Deeley from Burton Green have attended two pilates classes since re-opening.
Alan said: “Nothing has shocked me really. The only change for us is that fitness classes are downstairs now in the bigger hall. I feel absolutely safe while here.”
Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Director of Sport and Active Communities at the University of Warwick, added: “I think it’s clear that people have been itching to get back to the gym and re-build their fitness levels after four months of lockdown.
“To have more than 100 new sign-ups is excellent and the Government’s message to get active and promote healthy lifestyles is certainly getting through.
“Our facility is large and spacious which is a great benefit for us in helping to keep people safe and the feedback from our members so far is that we are doing that very well.”
To find out more about joining the Sports and Wellness Hub visit www.warwick.ac.uk/sport