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Nuffield has launched a COVID-19 recovery programme for mental and physical health

The great debate

Should gyms be classified as an essential service? Given its support for the NHS, should the fitness industry be classified as an essential service, and if so, how do we get the sector reclassified? Kath Hudson asks industry leaders for their views


ith the first lockdown leading to sedentary behaviour, obesity shown to make death from COVID-19 more likely and gyms proving to be low risk environments, it seemed a no brainer for gyms and leisure centres to be allowed to stay open during the UK’s second lockdown. However, in spite of powerful


November 2020 ©Cybertrek 2020

lobbying from the sector, the shutters came down on gyms. During the first lockdown good weather made outdoor exercise easy, yet in spite of this, Sport England research showed that three million more people became inactive. This time around, as we’re heading into winter, the need for safe indoor exercise facilities is all the more vital for people’s mental and physical

health, hence the disappointment, anger and frustration felt by all when these benefits weren’t recognised and facilities were closed again. The spirit of cooperation in the sector is invigorating and unprecedented, so as the industry moves forward with a strong, unified voice, what is the appropriate message to put forward to secure essential service status? We ask the experts.

Profile for Leisure Media

HCM November 2020  

HCM November 2020