Jordanians happy to be back at the gym, despite ‘inconveniences’

A man works out in an empty gym in this undated photo. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Gyms saw a huge turnout on Tuesday as the 38th decision for 2021 came into effect, allowing fitness centers, pools, Turkish baths, cinemas, and arcades to reopen. اضافة اعلان

The reopening comes as Jordan’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has accelerated and the positivity rate has hovered below 5 percent for weeks.

Ahmad Abu Alia, an athlete and coach, was among those who rushed to the gym on the first day back. He told Jordan News that he is very grateful to the gyms reopening and he noted that the precautionary measures were being strictly followed.

“Thank god the gyms reopened. To us athletes, the closures had a huge negative impact on our mental health,” he said. “I am a freelance trainer, so I tried to motivate people to exercise through online classes and so on. But it’s just not the same. It’s a lot more trouble.”

He added that the people working in the sector were greatly harmed during the last closure. “It is also important to keep in mind that there are coaches and gym owners who make a living out of this. So, hopefully the government will be able to help them.”

Khalid Farrah, another gym enthusiast, also finds the situation to be ideal.

“Coming from a person who has consistently been working out for six years, I am incredibly excited to be back at the gym,” he said.

He also told Jordan News that one must prioritize their health and wellbeing before worrying about anything else. According to him, as long as people are taking precautions, they will be okay.

“Throughout the past few months, I spent my time running outside as well as doing some home exercises. I also got the chance to go biking around Amman,” the athlete said. “But I think it’s about time we go back to the gym so we can enjoy working out with friends and doing group exercises.”

Farah Qudsi, who owns and runs a yoga studio, finds the situation both exciting and scary.

In an interview with Jordan News, she said that “there is no trust or guarantee that they will stay open. This is discouraging people, especially prospective members, from joining gyms and fitness centers.”

According to Qudsi, the vaccination requirement seems to be an inconvenience to many people, trainers and customers included.

“A lot of people don’t want to take the vaccine,” she said. “As for the application, Sanad, it is not clear. Gyms and customers still don’t know how to use it.”

Qudsi said, referring to the government’s e-services application, through which vaccination certificates will be issued and verified.

She also explained the requirements and precautions taken by gyms, reassuring people that the environment is safe; they operate at a capacity of 50 percent, and all group classes must be held outdoors.

A manager at another gym for private classes, Marah Al-Majali, was also enthusiastic about the reopening of gyms but pointed out that people still need time to return to their old habits.

“People have to be vaccinated 21 days prior to their visit. They have to wear masks all the time, including the coaches. And we always sanitize the equipment between classes,” she told Jordan News.

Zain Sheik Al-Ard, who is a CrossFit athlete, tried to stay in shape during the period of restrictions, but she told Jordan News that it was not as effective as going to the gym.

“I tried to go out for walks or runs sometimes, but I got bored eventually. So, I stopped exercising and now I’m very excited to be back,” she said.

Read more national news