Fitness fanatics across the north and north-east of Scotland breathed a huge sigh of relief today as gyms were finally re-opened.
People queued on the street to get back into their favourite workout spots after a four-month winter lockdown.
It was a monumental day for Scotland, as several lockdown restrictions eased to bring a sense of normality to the country.
The Forge Gym in Inverness wasted no time in taking advantage of the new rules, opening its doors at midnight.
General manager Louise Cooper said: “We had around 15 to 20 people waiting for us when we opened up at midnight, a lot of regular faces and some very excited folk.
“We just want everyone back in. I like chatting to them as they come in before they start their workout.
“That’s what feels normal to us and is what I’ve missed the most.”
One word: buzzing.
Pure Gym Aberdeen cluster manager Doni Thomson
Pure Gym in Aberdeen opened its doors to the public at 6am and was busy across all four of its sites in the city.
As of 4pm, 592 people had visited their Shiprow site and more than 2,000 had visited the four gyms across the city.
Doni Thomson, cluster manager for the four gyms in Aberdeen, said there had been a great atmosphere.
He said: “One word: buzzing. We are so happy to see people coming through the door again.
“It’s hugely important for us and them, we know that for everyday gym goers this is a huge part of their mental and social well-being.
“The physical benefits are obvious but we also know exercise is a huge stress reliever.”
‘I just want to be able to high-five people again’
Scotland has been in level four lockdown since December 26, with all leisure facilities, non-essential shops and hospitality venues closed.
Today’s changes mean individual exercise at gyms is now allowed, although group exercise and adult outdoor contact sport will not be allowed until May 17.
From the end of June, all types of sport will be allowed.
Donnie Beaton, who owns the CrossFit 57 North gym in Inverness, said there was “definite excitement” from people being allowed back in.
He said: “Our sessions are classes, which we’re not allowed to do yet, so it’s still a bit strange taking them in one at a time and not being able to have them all together like we normally would.
“CrossFit is all about working together, achieving things together and sitting at home we haven’t had this past year.
“We’re not there yet but there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel.
“Normally, we would all high-five each other at the end of a session but I’ve not done that for a year.
“I just want to be able to give people a high-five again.”
‘People have missed the social contact’
Brendan McCabe, sales manager for the David Lloyd in Aberdeen, said staff at the Garthdee Road gym were greeted with a queue down the road when they opened up at 6am.
He said: “Some of these people have been members for 20 years and they were the first ones back in this morning.
“People have missed the social contact, the routine and the positive changes that exercises brings to your mental state.”
Moray Sport Centre in Elgin created a walk-through for its members to let them know about the changes they’ve made to their layout to accommodate the new restrictions.
Chief executive Kathryn Evans said the centre’s phone had been ringing off the hook.
She said: “There’s been great anticipation about this for such a long time, it’s been brilliant.
“A lot of our core members who saw us outdoors through the hard winter were here today. It’s great they were able to do that but it’s lovely to be back indoors.
“They’re so excited I think we might have to encourage a few of them to take it easy.”