More people working out at gyms than before the pandemic
SINGAPORE- More than two years after the Covid-19 pandemic was declared in 2020 and gyms and fitness studios here took a hit due to restrictions, the industry is finally starting to show a picture of health.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, statutory board Sport Singapore (SportSG) said that more than 238,600 people utilised its 26 ActiveSG gyms in May. This is a 6 per cent rise compared with the same month in 2019, before the pandemic.
There has also been a similar increase in participation in programmes at the ActiveSG Sport Centres, where more than 108,400 members took part in activities such as zumba and yoga in May – a 16 per cent increase compared with the same period in May 2019.
SportSG, which has 19 sport centres running facilities in more than 30 locations, added that bookings and the number of users at its basketball and badminton courts and swimming pools have also increased.
The latest figures are an indication that more people here are engaging in physical activities after what has been a turbulent two years for the fitness industry in Singapore.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, strenuous indoor sports and exercise classes, which required participants to take their masks off, were halted.
Gym and fitness studio owners suffered economic losses during the period, which led to SportSG pledging support in May last year in the form of $18 million to help businesses in the sports and fitness industry defray operating costs.
Restrictions were then eased along the way and in April’s updated safe management measures (SMMs), safe distancing was no longer required between individuals or between groups, while group size limits were lifted.
But not everything is back to what it was pre-Covid-19. When ST visited the Toa Payoh ActiveSG gym, users were being reminded to don their masks when moving between stations.
SportSG added that its staff members have been ensuring that SMMs, such as mask-wearing indoors, are being adhered to, and will continue to do so for the safety of its guests.
Mr Nicholas Tan, 28, a regular of the Anytime Fitness Greenwich V branch, said that he is pleased to see the gym buzzing again.
Mr Tan, who works in the automobile industry, said: “In the past few months, the number of users in the gym has gone up. The difference from before is that I have noticed a lot more people using their own towels, masking up and cleaning after they use the stations. People are taking hygiene more seriously.”
The same trend of a boom in users has been observed in private gyms and fitness studios.
Mr John Suriya, 29, a head coach at Thrive Fitness – a personal training service – has seen his number of clients double to 28 since the start of the year, when restrictions were lifted.
Mr Suriya said: “The pandemic has meant that people had more time for themselves and now more people realise the importance of keeping fit. There is also increased awareness of the benefits of working out.”
He also pointed to the revised set of the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines launched by SportSG and the Health Promotion Board last month. The guidelines call for adults to accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.
“More people are taking health into serious consideration. With latest government guidelines, people are becoming more conscious and have realised that they need to incorporate some form of exercise into their daily lives. That is why there is now a greater demand for fitness classes and services all around,” said Mr Suriya.