Narooma gyms would bend over backwards to reopen

Narooma's fitness community is eager to get back to sunnier days when group exercise was the norm.

Narooma's fitness community is eager to get back to sunnier days when group exercise was the norm.

Narooma's two commercial gyms are sweating over not being able to open.

Gyms have been closed now for almost two months during the coronavirus pandemic. Narooma's fitness fiends have resorted to at-home workouts and alternative training options.

Both the Narooma Fitness Centre and Oddbods Health and Fitness Centre want to get back to business.

Troy Beecham of the Narooma Fitness Centre said COVID-19 times were a struggle.

He has been fortunate to see some cash flow through his business in bike repairs and hire, but wants the green light from government to allow the fitness centre to fully operate again.

NSW's restrictions are slowly being lifted, but reopening indoor gyms is not next on the list.

In the latest round of the government's changes to restrictions, outdoor exercise equipment was allowed to be "used with caution" and gatherings permitted of up to 10 people, seeing personal trainers and smaller fitness businesses adapting to outdoor sessions.

Mr Beecham felt indoor gyms can be made safer than training at public outdoor gyms.

"It's unfair people can train at gyms outdoors," he said.

"I can wander through the gym every hour, constantly sanitising and keeping things clean."

When indoor gyms reopen, the four-square metre rule is likely to apply. Mr Beecham said it would be no problem.

"There's plenty of room," he said.

"Even at busy times only 10-15 people come in to the gym at once."

Mr Beecham has plans to reopen safely.

"It depends on what the government's restrictions are - there will be ways around it, you just have to use common sense," he said.

People have set up home gyms in the interim, and Mr Beecham was concerned member numbers would drop.

"There's plenty of people buying home gym stuff who would want to save money on gym membership," he said.

"Then there's people who will be skeptical of coming and training in a gym."

He said gym's could be dirty: "But you have to be OCD, especially at times like this."

Owners of Oddbods Health and Fitness Centre, Brett and Carol Atkinson, have considered ways to modify the fitness centre to allow for their members safe return.

"We have been looking at the Swedish model to make modifications to the fitness centre," Mrs Atkinson said.

The centre has 600 members, most aged above 40.

Ms Atkinson said older members were worried even before lockdown.

"Members in their 70s were the first ones to put their memberships on hold, prior to the lockdown," Ms Atkinson said.

"They were anxious prior to lock down and will be when reopening, but they are aware they need to stay away from everyone else."

Ms Atkinson said she noticed the community starting to "shift their perception of COVID-19".

"We have had so many messages from members wanting to come back," she said.

"I am positive they will return.

"I think people have missed their routines and the gym in their life."

Ms Atkinson said the fitness centre should never have closed.

"I think we should have been open the whole time, for mental health and the local economy," she said.

"After the bushfires, people were only just getting up and gaining momentum and now this [pandemic].

"We are all in a different boat, but some people have been impacted severely by it."

To help members' wellbeing, Ms Atkinson said equipment was hired out and online fitness classes were made available.

"My daughter who is a PT in Wollongong, has people from all over the place doing her classes," Ms Atkinson said.

"Our members were given a subscription to her online Zoom classes."

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