Gyms and fitness clubs were forced to shut their doors during the pandemic lockdown. It was a time of change and innovation, with individual online training filling the gap for some fitness fans. But communal activities were missed and as soon as lockdown restrictions were eased, group exercise classes resumed.
For people still a tad Covid-wary, outdoor venues have been a breath of fresh air. For example, a coffee shop parking lot in the Pretoria suburb of Hazelwood has been hosting a “faced-paced” cardio aerobics session mixed with dance routines — called Carpark Cardio.
Under Level 1 regulations, people at gatherings must maintain a distance of 1.5m-2m from one another and wear a face mask — though an exception is made with vigorous exercise. Both indoor and outdoor public gyms must display a certificate declaring the maximum gathering size. Gyms are allowed to operate at 50% of normal capacity, with bookings required for group classes. All equipment and mats must be cleaned after use.
Carpark Cardio participant Dikgabiso Semuli said it was great to get out after months of lockdown.
“I did online sessions via YouTube and Zoom during lockdown, but I prefer face to face. It gives you the vibe and motivation. When you dial in online you can skip a class, but face to face with others you get that push to perform better.”
Student Shannon de Araujo said fellow exercisers helped “get your endorphins going”. Nicole Jones found the class invigorating: “Not seeing fellow fitness buffs during lockdown was depressing; fortunately that has changed.”
Amber Crouse loved the shared vibe. “There is something about having people together — an energy that people share, having the live music, being outside under the sun, early morning, it’s completely different. You can’t get that online.” DM/ ML
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