‘Time to get people active again,’ says GLL as gyms reopen

Social enterprise GLL has hailed the reopening of gyms and swimming pools as a crucial step forward in rebuilding public health and wellbeing.

As indoor leisure reopens in line with Covid-19 regulations, the Belfast leisure operator says vital work to get people living active and healthy lifestyles again can now get underway.

Individual training in gyms and swimming pools is now permitted, including one-to-one coaching with social distancing in place.

Before the pandemic, GLL facilitated over 180,000 centre visits per month and is looking forward to welcoming back families, school-aged children and patients referred from GP and cancer care services.

The social enterprise believes if we are to truly learn lessons from the pandemic, we must get more people, more active, more often to mitigate the impact of conditions like Long Covid, obesity and diabetes on local people and services.

Plans are in place to resume group fitness classes and swimming lessons in limited numbers on May 24, in line with indicative dates published by the Executive.

Welcoming the return of indoor leisure, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA encouraged citizens to enjoy a safe and responsible return to training.

Minister Hargey said:   “It is fantastic to see gyms and swimming pools open their doors again after such a challenging year. As we take these cautious steps out of restrictions, it is vital that leisure services step in to support and protect citizens and I am delighted to see so many operators doing so.”

“We recognise that restrictions on public life, including our ability to exercise and swim, have been extremely difficult. It is essential that we prioritise our health and wellbeing as we emerge from lockdown.”

Regional Director of GLL Gareth Kirk said: “This week marks the first time since December that citizens have had the ability to train in the gym or enjoy a swim, activities which we once took for granted. Given the huge demand for outdoor fitness classes in recent weeks, it is clear there is appetite among the public to get back to training.”

“Just as the economy needs our attention, the physical health of our population must be prioritised if we are to avoid overwhelming our health trusts going forward. We at GLL have been preparing to welcome members old and new back to safely kickstart their training and challenge themselves to be healthier, stronger and more resilient than ever before.”