5 Steps to Prepare Your Fitness Centers to Stay Open
1. Prepare Equipment
After being unused for a substantial period, you need to be sure that your fitness equipment is ready for residents. Equipment that has been sitting unused for long periods of time needs to be looked at to ensure safety and be in tiptop working condition. Here are few things to look at for each piece of equipment in your space:
- Inspect equipment to ensure it is free of moisture, dust or debris.
- Inspect plugs and power cords to ensure they are working correctly and safely.
- Make sure all powered machines turn on and controls work properly.
- Check all functions of powered equipment - speed, incline, heart-rate monitoring, etc.
- Ensure that TV and internet cables are properly connected.
- Look for damage or wear and tear on equipment - especially with strength equipment cables.
- Make sure guide rods, cables, and belts are properly oiled and working smoothly.
- Update console software if needed.
- Schedule routine maintenance to make sure equipment is checked often once users return on a regular basis.
2. Thorough Cleaning
Coming out of COVID, fitness centers will have a new standard of “clean”. Not only does this keep residents healthy and safe, it also gives residents a sense of confidence when using the property’s fitness center. If they know this space has a high standard of cleanliness , they will be more willing use the space.
Here is a checklist of cleaning product basics that management should consider having on hand at all times:
- Disinfecting wipes for surfaces and equipment
- Hand sanitizer
- Electrostatic sprayer to make sure all surfaces (even those hard to reach nooks and crannies) are disinfected. Use only recommended approved cleaners for fitness equipment.
3. Expand Useable Space
This is the best time to look at your fitness center space and ask yourself: “Can my fitness center be expanded to other open areas to give residents more room?” Maybe there is extra square footage in the building or an outdoor space your fitness center can be expanded to. That may mean spacing already purchased equipment or adding a few new pieces to give residents more options. There's also the option of purchasing weather resilient equipment for an outdoor space or adding an outdoor cover/tent and moving some indoor pieces to outdoors instead. Equipment manufacturers have become aware of the growing trend in outdoor fitness and are providing fitness centers with many new options!
4. Reduce Sharing
Even with the best cleaning efforts, residents will have more confidence in using a fitness center if there is ample supply of equipment and equipment isn’t having to be over shared. That could mean purchasing more fitness accessories such as dumbbells, medicine balls or mats, so there is a large supply to offer residents. With more pieces, this will give management more flexibility when cleaning. They won’t be having to clean items nearly as often during the day if there are more items to go around!
5. Maintain Safety for Residents
Maintaining safety for residents not only includes routine cleaning and maintenance on equipment, but also includes air purification to keep a space continually disinfected. Even after the COVID era, other viruses and bacteria will continue to be issues in a shared fitness space (think staph, mrsa, and of course the annual cold virus). During the peak of COVID many companies created new technology to provide indoor spaces with a way to clean the air, as well as the surfaces. Air purification is a cost-efficient way to keep spaces clean and residents safe. Just knowing an air purification unit is in place will give residents more confidence in using the space and management will in return worry less about having to close fitness centers due to continued outbreaks.
Alicia Carrithers with PRECOR Commercial Fitness is an experienced fitness instructor and digital marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. She is skilled in marketing, social media, advertising, sales, management, fitness training, and teamwork. A strong community and social services professional, she holds a Bachelor of Arts focused in marketing from Portland State University- School of Business Administration.