DURBAN – Wearing a mask in public is still compulsory but people attending gym facilities don’t have to wear a mask while they do “vigorous” exercise, according to new government regulations that have been gazetted.
According to Planet Fitness, vigorous exercise entails cardio, spinning, group training, cross-training and outdoor training.
“Individuals may pull their masks down to their neck during high-intensity training, provided that social distancing of at least two metres is observed. Masks are still compulsory during less vigorous training and must still be worn throughout all other areas in the club whilst walking between areas, including on entry and exit to the club,” read a statement from the gym company.
Meanwhile, Virgin Active told Business Insider that ‘vigorous exercise’ is defined as between 70% to 85% of a person’s maximum heart rate. It would apply to treadmills and exercise bikes, as well as to group classes.
“We are significantly constrained by the Government restriction of 50 people in a club at a time despite some clubs being as big as 5,000 m2, which means that we can only have one member per 100m2, compared to international norms of one member per 7m2. Gyms in this country range in size from 50m2 to 5,000m2 and a single 50 person limit for all gyms is not appropriate,” a Virgin Active spokesperson told Business Insider.
However, others have questioned why weight training was not classified as intense training.
“Surely doing many reps with heavy weights is intense? or have you not tried lifting those weights while being smothered by a mask. So why is weight training not classified as intense?” asked Noleen Douglas Roets.
According to the new regulations, gyms must also place markers on the floor highlighting 1.5 metres or 2 metres social distancing. Saunas and steam rooms, as well as childcare facilities, must remain closed.
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