FITNESS fans got back in the saddle after lockdown yesterday when Renfrewshire Leisure began reopening its gyms, swimming pools and sports centres.
A spin cycle session was the first fitness class held at The ON-X, in Linwood, and one of the first people to book a place at the class was Margaret McKinstry, from Houston, Renfrewshire.
Margaret, 61, couldn’t wait to get back to her fitness classes and has booked sessions every day this week.
She said: “I’ve been going to fitness classes for about ten years and I really missed them during lockdown.
“As well as keeping fit, you also meet friends at the fitness classes and the re-opening of the gyms and classes couldn’t come quick enough for me.”
The re-opening of Renfrewshire Leisure’s fitness suites came at the right time for 31-year-old Stephanie Cunningham, from Lochwinnoch, who gave birth to a baby girl, Carmen, in June.
The competitive weightlifter booked a morning session in the gym at The ON-X yesterday.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in shape after having a baby,” Stephanie said. “I’ll be booking gym sessions three or four times a week from now on.”
The safety of both customers and staff has been made a top priority as Renfrewshire Leisure reopened most of its sports and leisure facilities in line with Scottish Government guidance.
Clearly indicated measures such as one-way systems are in place alongside guidance on social distancing and spaced out gym equipment, which is cleaned after every use. Hand sanitising points are included in the enhanced hygiene regime. Customers and staff must wear face coverings as they move about the centres.
The facilities which opened yesterday were The ON-X; Lagoon Leisure Centre, in Paisley; Renfrew Leisure Centre, Renfrew Victory Baths, Erskine Sports Centre and Erskine Swimming Pool.
Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: "It's been great to welcome our first customers back into our centres. Everyone's been pleased to return and we're looking forward to seeing many more of our members and customers in the days and weeks ahead.
"What's clear from what everyone is telling us is that they have missed coming along to our gyms, fitness classes and swimming pools. Being able to open again is good for the physical and mental wellbeing of people in our region.
“We appreciate that with the new safety measures we have introduced, things may be a bit different, but we're working hard to ensure a really positive experience. By working together, we will all enjoy the return of these much-appreciated services.”
In the reopened centres, where all appointments must be pre-booked, the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have hit the ground running to provide a wide variety of activities with 110 fitness classes, 4,800 fitness class slots, 4,011 swimming slots and 10,665 gym sessions every week.
Shared leisure facilities at Park Mains High School, in Erskine, and Johnstone Community Sports Hub will re-open during a later phase.
The careful way in which the restart of services has been planned may mean that not all types of classes will be immediately available. But to give customers as wide a choice as possible, spaces have been repurposed to ensure capacity levels remain unaffected. Membership fees have also been frozen until November.
People can watch a video of what to expect at Renfrewshire Leisure's reopened leisure venues by going to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/fitness.
Fitness sessions can be booked seven days in advance on a first-come-first-served basis by logging on to https://bookings.renfrewshireleisure.com/ and people without internet access can book by calling 0300 300 0250.
Customers are being asked not to visit Renfrewshire Leisure facilities if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 – a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, or a loss, or change in sense of taste or smell.