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Nigeria: Getting fit in Lagos in times of Covid

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*Lagos is experiencing an increase in the number of Fitness centres due to residents’ desire to take part in physical activities.*

Lagosians have made regular physical activity like cycling, squatting, weighting lighting and taking part in sports or active recreation as a hobby.

The world health organisation (W.H.O) defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. It also said Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work.

According to W.H.O both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.

The 2020 World Health Organisation Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, states that people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.

In a city where hustle and bustle are the order of the day, many residents hardly have time for themselves.

However, those who are health conscious are creating time for workout.

For them, keeping fit is important for a healthy lifestyle.

Femi Kuti, a Coach at Jack Fitness Club in Surulere Lagos said “Workout, works for me and for my students. It is what we do that makes us feel healthy.”

Buttressing the reason for exercising Khadijat Aremu a Fitness Enthusiast added “If you exercise much, it frees up space, it gets you fit. You can do anything you want.”

For Blessing Okeke, her reason for joining a fitness club is to keep fit. She says “I do come here to be fit; you understand.”

In different parts of Nigeria’s Commercial city, Lagos, fitness centres of different forms are springing.

Many Residents visit the gymnasiums they can afford, some go to a makeshift gymnasium while others go to a standard as which they can afford.

“We exercise daily, some workout every weekend. The desire to remain healthy motivate us” says Abdulkareem Sani

The Nigerian fitness Industry took a hit with the emergency of COVID-19 after the closure of Gyms and fitness centres due to the imposition of lockdown by the Nigerian government in 2020.

The lockdown meant many Nigerians had to stay indoors for close to three months.

“For most of 2020, this facility was closed to the public, and most of us were mostly indoor then.”-Salawo Kamil

During the lockdown, owners of fitness centres had to devise ways to conduct sessions for their members.

For Emmanuel Bright, a certified fitness instructor at Fitness Factory in Lagos, they had to adjust their covid-19 ways of training to avoid members contacting the virus.

“When covid hit we resulted to virtual classes, no in-person or one-on-one personal training, nobody was coming to the gym because of the fear of contacting covid.”- Emmanuel Bright

Following the lifting of the lockdown in 2020, the government put in place some sanitary measures for fitness centres to reopen with limited attendance.

For fitness centres to reopen, they had to observe the protocols put in place by the authorities.

Divine, the owner of Divine Fitness Centre said “I have to regulate the people that are coming, I tell them who comes at a particular day because we do not want crowds because of covid-19".

To access a standard Gym, one is expected to observe the Basic Covid 19 protocol, such as the use of Hand Sanitiser, washing of hands with soap and water among others.

“To enter the Gym, you have to sanitise your hand. After sanitising your hand, we have different sanitisers placed in strategic places in the gym.” said Bright Emmanuel, a Fitness Trainer.

He added that “we made sure that we demarcate metres between how people can stay and how far people can interact and everything.”

Africanews Correspondent in Lagos, David Taylor said “Workout is becoming a norm in Lagos”.

He said residents say fitness is a serious business.

According to Fitness enthusiasts in Lagos, to stay fit there is no better time than now to start living healthy.

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