WITH gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools ready to reopen at the end of this week, advice has been issued for staying safe while getting back to “normal” forms of exercise.

Active Surrey, a county council sponsored body which promotes physical activity as a means of maintaining good health, says sports facilities have changed since before the coronavirus lockdown.

Gyms and sports centres will have less equipment to use and that what is available will be spaced out to ensure social distancing. Class sizes will be reduced to cut the risk of infection.

Changing rooms and showers might be of bounds or restricted to reduced numbers and toilets could be less accessible.

Where the sharing of equipment is impossible to avoid, it will be cleaned much more frequently between users.

Steve May, who manages the facilities and gyms at Woking Leisure Centre and the Woking Sportsbox at Mayford, is one of those preparing for reopening on Saturday 25 July.

“It is important to understand the fitness industry has had time to prepare for reopening and facility providers have gone to great lengths to make themselves COVID-secure,” he said.

“Additional cleaning, redesigning of the facilities to enable social distancing and hand sanitiser on every corner are just some of the things you can expect to see, but there will need to be some compromise from the users.”

Active Surrey says it is important that protocols of leisure centres, gyms and sports clubs are followed, as each venue will have a slightly different approach.

Users should take their own water supply, as drinking fountains will not be in use. Hand sanitiser should be used frequently and other people’s kit and belongings should not be handled.

“Don’t join others at the gym or your sports club if you feel at all unwell and, to avoid injury, don’t expect to start back at your same old level of fitness,” said a spokesman.

“Runners and cyclists may have been able to keep up their training regimes, but the rest of us need to adapt. Start back at 50% of the level you were before and take it from there over the first few weeks.”

Active Surrey board member Born Barikor says the reopening of sports and leisure facilities is an ideal time for people who want to get fit to build on the sense of community experienced during the lockdown.

Born is a fitness coach and a founder member of the Our Parks “get fit for free” movement.

“This is a huge opportunity to come together and grow habits by adding additional forms of exercise,” he said. “My top tip would be to still continue your online or home workout regime and integrate it into old routines that also allow you to meet your community.”

The latest news on the reopening of facilities and individual sports can be found at www.activesurrey.com.