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New Year fitness resolutions: Navigating the COVID curveball
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New Year fitness resolutions: Navigating the COVID curveball

While January usually brings heavy footfall to fitness centers, such has not been the case in recent times, mostly due to a surge in COVID cases
New Year gym resolutions have observed a decline in recent years due to a surge in COVID cases
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K/Happiest Health

With the dawn of a new year, those who resolve to get fitter embark on their new journey — a practice that one would have imagined to stand the test of time. However, things haven’t been quite the same this year; January 2024 has observed a lull in the gym rush. “We usually see many people registering at gyms during the New Year, excited to start their fitness journey. As a result, we generally provide offers and discounts to attract people and provide them with suitable services,” says K Vamshi Krishna, founder of Divine Fit Tribe gym, Bangalore. However, hesitation lingers in the air this year, with the recent surge in COVID cases suspected to have slowed down the annual rush.

Footfall in gyms during the New Year

Gyms typically see a high level of footfall in January. “However, it has surprisingly been the least revenue-generating month for the past couple of years — the primary reason being the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Goutam Dev Mohanty, certified nutritionist and fitness coach as well as the owner of Madbody Fitness Studio, Bangalore. “While the heightened awareness about health and fitness should ideally cause an increase in gym memberships, news about the recent surge in COVID cases can potentially wipe out such predictions.”

The reasons for joining a gym have evolved as well — from desiring a simple, fit body to a complete lifestyle overhaul. “I believe the phrase ‘New Year’s resolution’ has been obsolete since the pandemic started. The membership inquiries are more or less the same as other months of the year,” elaborates Mohanty. “Nowadays, people don’t believe in keeping health just as a resolution; they rather choose to make it a lifestyle. In addition, they give in to the notion that most New Year’s resolutions on health and fitness fail.”

Hygiene measures at the gym

COVID demands that gyms maintain good hygiene practices, and such establishments have evolved to stand up to the impending challenges. “We have dedicated housekeeping staff that regularly clean the premises and equipment. All equipment is sanitized after every use. In addition, sanitizers and cleaning supplies are kept everywhere so that the members can use them as required. Working out keeps you away from health conditions, strengthens your immunity and helps your body maintain a higher base temperature,” says Krishna.

Mohanty believes that safety measures have become permanent post-pandemic. Hand sanitizers, facial thermometers and sanitization of the gym and equipment after every use are now part of the cost of running a gym.

Basic etiquette for those joining the gym

Krishna recommends everyone wear dedicated shoes for the gym that must not be used elsewhere. He also suggests people get their own towels and water bottles, which reduces the risk of infection transmission and improves hygiene. Further, he advises people to wash up and change into fresh clothes after a workout session. “Our belief is that you should exit the gym as fresh as you entered,” he shares.

“Be aware; use your towel and ensure the equipment is sanitized before and after use,” says Mohanty. “Also, stay home if you’re not feeling well, as you may unknowingly affect others.”

Takeaways

  • While many people register at gyms during the New Year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decline in gym memberships during this time for the past couple of years.
  • People don’t consider fitness a New Year’s resolution anymore; they rather incorporate it as a part of their lifestyle.
  • Experts believe that safety measures have become permanent in gyms since the pandemic. Hand sanitizers, facial thermometers and sanitization of the gym and equipment after every use are now part of their operational costs.

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