Gyms in Montgomery County are reporting a rise in membership applications following reopening plans in June.
Closed March 17 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, physical fitness centers like Iron Smith’s Gym on Main Street have seen a slight resurgence in numbers after shutting their doors two months ago, likely due to cabin fever from staying inside without access to fitness equipment, owner Gary Smith said.
“People need to get fit,” Smith said. “People can only do so much at home, and a lot of people like to feed off others and cheer each other on to help them in their progress.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced in March that businesses which see high numbers of frequent visitors, such as gyms, bars and nightclubs, would close to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Though closures helped slow the rate of infection, they hit businesses just as hard, as indicated by the more than 48 million Americans who have applied for unemployment.
But now as the state prepares to enter Stage 5 of Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan, gym owners are seeing both new and familiar faces.
“We’ve seen quite a few younger people applying for gym memberships,” Powerhouse Barbell & Fitness owner Monica Nagele said. “We’ve actually had several students apply. We haven’t heard too much about people being
concerned about coming in.”
Anna Bealmear, owner of Q&A Strength & Nutrition, echoed comments made by Nagele.
“I would say we’ve had about an 18% increase in memberships,” Bealmear said. “It’s been nice; I would compare it to what we see with New Year’s resolutions.”
However, not all fitness centers have seen members return.
Fawn Johnson, Director of Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation, said many Community Center members have not yet returned to the weight room.
“A lot of our members are seniors and older adults, and our senior programs have been pushed back to Aug. 1,” she said. “We’re not at anywhere near normal capacity.”
Seniors and older populations, who are more vulnerable than most when contracting COVID-19, can attend group classes at the Community Center and other gyms but have seemingly avoided coming back.
Those ages 70 and older account for roughly 75 percent of Indiana’s COVID-19 mortality rate (coronavirus.in.gov).
Despite this, some are preparing to open for the first time amid the pandemic only a few months after gyms were forced shut.
“We’re getting ready for a soft opening Sept. 1,” a representative with Anytime Fitness said. “In general I think people are excited to get back to the gym ... and seem to have a renewed commitment to their fitness and health.”
Of nearly a dozen fitness centers located with Crawfordsville city limits, all but one reported a rise in numbers.
For more information about Holcomb’s five-stage Back on Track Indiana plan, visit www.backontrack.in.gov.