VIJAYAWADA/TIRUPATI/VISAKHAPATNAM: After months of shutdown and low footfall, gymnasiums and fitness centres in Vijayawada are finally functioning with full capacity again. Their owners say the number of people working out has more or less reached the pre-Covid figures.
In all, the city has close to 150 medium and small-scale gymnasiums, where the number of new admissions is increasing steadily. However, the situation in Chittoor and Nellore districts is contrasting as 45-50 per cent of old customers have not returned after the gyms and fitness centres their re-opened.
The situation is no different in Visakhapatnam with the regular gym-goers adopting a cautionary approach.
P Ramesh, owner of Durga’s Gym in Vijayawada who has been in the fitness industry for the last 15 years, said not just youngsters but also people in the 30-50 age group are showing interest to join the gyms to improve their physical fitness.
“More people showing interest is a good sign for us. As the total number of admissions is reaching its old level, we are opting for ways to manage the crowd and run the gym adhering strictly to the Covid guidelines,” he said.
Ramesh added that his gym had offered online training classes to customers who opted for personal training. “At present, many who can afford our services prefer personal training on their premises to avoid exercising in the crowd.”
Meanwhile, 60 fitness centres in Nellore district have been struggling to keep their business running since the first wave.
“My gym had 60 regular customers before the first wave. After it reopened six months later, the customers are not showing any interest to re-join as they fear that they might contract coronavirus in the centre. The gym is now functioning with 30 customers,” said S Bindu, owner and trainer at Komala Fitness centre in Nellore city.
Vinod, another fitness expert in Nellore city, said many people have taken to working out at home. However, they may not get the full benefit of exercising due to the lack of expert supervision. In Visakhapatnam, the gyms are seeing small crowds despite following all Covid-19 precautions prescribed by the government. However, there has been a sharp decline in the number of women members.
Maxx Fitness owner Ravi said the gyms have taken one of the worst hits due to the pandemic. “Before Covid-19, over a hundred people used to come to the gym but now their numbers hardly touch 60.”
B Anand Rao said his gym is a luxury many people cannot afford due to the financial cuts that have come with the pandemic. “People still fear the virus even though we explained and demonstrated the precautions being taken at the gym.”