Thoughts on exercise during these challenging times

We have tried to make these articles as upbeat as we can over the past year or so. And naturally, there has been an undertone to encourage exercise and gym usage (which is hardly a shock given it’s our business!). But we try not to be too ‘salesy’ and keep the commentary and advice authentic.

Which brings us neatly to the current unprecedented situation with regard to the Coronavirus. We have already posted some logical information and advice (see below). And key to that is we remain open at the present time for any member who still wants to exercise in a gym.

Naturally, there is a dichotomy here. On the one hand, the government is telling us to adhere to social distancing and not visit pubs, clubs and restaurants. And on the other hand, we (Choices Health Clubs) remain open and welcoming to members.

There are several reasons for staying open, and ironically we have covered them in more detail in previous articles. It is worth recapping theses now, given they are more important than ever:

1. Physical wellbeing

The importance of exercise is something we harp on about all the time, and just because of the current situation we shouldn’t put our physical wellbeing on hold. Your body still needs that outlet and boost, whether that is daily, every couple of days or weekly. It is important to get that stimulation and physical benefit. If the gym is the best place to do this, and you are comfortable with the guidance then please feel free to come along. If not, then you need to find a way to keep exercising at home. This may be more tricky, but please try to commit the time and effort so that when things return to a more normal routine you can pick right back up where you left off.

2. Mental wellbeing

The mental and emotional impact of the current situation is something that has not received much media coverage so far. And rightly the focus should be on the immediate medical condition itself. But these will be very challenging times people with existing mental health problems, as well as creating wellbeing issues for others too. As we discussed at length in a previous article, exercise releases a range of chemicals and hormones that can suppress anxiety and low moods, and as such exercise is an important part of many people’s mental health wellbeing strategy. Keeping some form of exercise program, either at a gym or at home, is therefore crucial.

3. Routine and normality

Again, we have discussed the importance of routine previously, specifically in relation to holiday periods and Christmas when changes to routine can disrupt exercise programs and gym attendance. We now find ourselves in another disruptive period in which routines are forced to change and habits can slip. It is important to try and keep some time free for exercise even if it means getting up slightly earlier or doing this differently to normal. As noted above, this may involve coming to the gym if you are comfortable with that, or exercising at home.

Rest assured that we are here and willing to help, even if that only involves a phone conversation for advice on exercising at home. Give us a call at any of our three clubs, or pop for a chat if you prefer and are comfortable.


COVID-19 UPDATE 18th March 2020

After the government announcement last night we feel it is important to update the members as to the state of play in regards to gyms. Gyms are currently not included in the avoid category along with schools. Because of this, we will remain open to members until we are advised otherwise. This is a fast-moving situation, one that we are taking very seriously and checking on several times per day.

It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that all members strictly adhere to the COVID-19 policy that was displayed last week. The principal points being:

Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
Wipe down gym equipment with the anti-bacterial spray provided before and after use
When you are in the Gym try to keep a safe distance of at least 2m from others where possible and rotate use of equipment every 15 minutes


Do not attempt to enter the gym with even the mildest symptoms. This includes a sore throat, a persistent cough or a temperature.

If we all follow these strict guidelines, we can keep the gym open for our members whilst remaining a safe place for people to exercise.

Please also be aware that we now have teams working on how to provide you fitness instruction, and support, during any enforced closure, or a period where you are simply self-isolating. This will include a lot of digital content to allow you to stay at home and remain fit and healthy – one of the key ways to fight off the virus.

The government are providing daily updates and we will update our policies every time we are required to in the interests of everyone’s wellbeing.

We are now living through completely unprecedented times and we are having to be very dynamic and react quickly to changes. We know your service may experience some disruption at this time and in truth, this will be a devastating period for businesses in the UK and across the world. We feel extremely blessed to have such a wonderful and supportive group of members who we know will be patient and understanding, providing mutual support through this difficult time.

All our thanks
The Choices Team.

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