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Group exercise set to return to leisure centres

13 May 2021 : Council news, Community, Sport and leisure

Leisure centres in Taunton and Wellington are set to relaunch group exercise classes in what has been called “a huge boost” for the mental health of the community.

Blackbrook Leisure Centre and Spa, Taunton Swimming Pool, Wellsprings Leisure Centre, and Wellington Sports Centre, run by Everyone Active in partnership with Somerset West and Taunton Council, reopened on Monday, April 12 after three months of closure due to the third lockdown.

And now group exercise has been given the green light to resume from Monday, May 17 in the penultimate stage of the Government’s four-step roadmap.

Prior to the reopening of gyms, customers were able to use Everyone Active’s comprehensive package of online workouts and live streamed classes across its social media pages.

As restrictions have eased, many have been eager to return to group exercise in centres and Everyone Active’s strict operational measures mean they can do so in a Covid-safe environment.

Research commissioned by ukactive* showed that 58% of people had managed their mental health and wellbeing during lockdown through being active, while 63% said that taking part in sport and physical activity with others could help with feelings of loneliness.

Mark Washington, contract manager at Everyone Active, said: “We are delighted to be able to safely resume group exercise classes in our centres.

“Aside from the obvious physical benefits, this will be a huge boost for mental health and wellbeing in Taunton and Wellington, and comes at an apt time following the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.

“Many of our customers thrive on the social element of exercise, not just for motivational reasons but also because they enjoy seeing friendly faces in a familiar environment.

“With social contact having been limited over the past year, the ability to mix safely with other members of the community will be appreciated by many.

“The importance of mental wellbeing is proving increasingly resonant with the public and customers can reintroduce group exercise to their fitness regime in the knowledge they are addressing the needs of body and mind.”

Everyone Active has committed to keeping its customers safe and active, ensuring it will meet and exceed Government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 with the Everyone Active Pledge. Full detail on the operator’s pledge and safety measures can be found here.

The Government’s roadmap includes detail on which facilities can reopen within each step, meaning some may not be available in the first instance. Details about which facilities can reopen in each step and the latest guidance can be found here.

SWT’s Executive Member for Sports, Parks and Leisure, Cllr Derek Perry, said: “We know how much the restrictions on our leisure facilities have affected people during the various lockdown periods and are delighted that the latest Government guidance means we are now able to welcome customers back to group exercises.

“We want everyone to enjoy all the health benefits that our leisure centres have to offer and appreciate the wider boost to wellbeing that comes with giving people the opportunity to resume group exercise classes.”

Customers wishing to attend group exercise classes are required to book in advance via the Everyone Active website or mobile app.