04 Nov Keep Gyms Open: Why Gyms Have The Right To Remain Open During Lockdown
As we head into the UK’s second national lockdown – and at this rate, probably not the last – it is disappointing that gyms are being forced to close once again.
There are fears that coronavirus can spread in gyms due to it lingering on surfaces, people gathering, and people working up a sweat. However, if this is the case, then why do gyms have a significantly smaller percentage of infection rates than bars, pubs and restaurants, which seem to be the primary focus of the government’s campaigning to date.
Hospitality is a luxury, health and welfare is an essential.
In fact, data collected from Public Health England’s Track and Trace system supports that gyms are one of the least likely places to contract the virus with only around 2% of COVID cases being remotely linked to gyms (that’s 0.35 in 100,000 visitors), far surpassing the spread rate of supermarkets, pubs, bars and restaurants and schools.
While it is understandable in most circumstances that supermarkets and schools have to remain open, the fact that gyms have a lesser infection rate than ‘essentials’ proves that procedures being carried out within most gyms are more efficient and effective, which is why it is baffling that gyms are forced to close despite them statistically being safer than the ‘essentials’.
As with every establishment, most gyms have great protocols and procedures in place, such as protection screens, limited capacity, masks, sanitiser, controlled air conditioning and thorough clean downs of all equipment.
So, if gyms are in fact safer than most establishments, then why are they being forced to close?
The reason why they are subjected to closure is because they are considered a ‘non-essential’.
The ironic factor is, the nation is in a state where health and welfare must become a top priority, and yet why are takeaways given priority over gyms? Is this not a massive contradiction, that fast food gets a fast pass over the health and welfare of the nation?
The government is recommending that everyone spends one hour per day exercising or playing sports outdoors. This was all well and good during the first lockdown in the Summer months when everyone relished in the sunshine. However, have you checked the forecast recently? The Winter is closing in hard and fast and outdoor exercise is simply not an option for many individuals who rely on safe and accessible indoor spaces, such as those who are elderly, pregnant, or disabled, to name but a few.
Additionally, exercise is known to boost the immune system and is a preventative of many diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, all of which are issues that place sufferers within the high-risk bracket of COVID. Physical exercise is a preventative of these diseases, thus creating a greater defence mechanism against COVID and the severity of cases. Shutting gym doors is also shutting out a preventative solution.
Mental health is a huge issue in the UK, especially in connection to lockdown. While we won’t get into the science of it all, it is a commonly known fact that physical exercise reduces mental health problems and depression – the effects of which are most often heightened under lockdown circumstances. To take away the ability to go to the gym is taking away this stress release for many individuals that rely on gyms as their mental crutch.
Health and fitness is an ESSENTIAL, and therefore so too are gyms. Statistics have proved these facilities to be amongst the safest and most well-managed establishments in comparison to even the considered essentials which, quite frankly, should be top of their game.
Gyms promote a healthy lifestyle, increase mental health, and boost the immune system. These are all factors that are competing in the fight against COVID. Have you ever known a burger or pizza to do that? Priorities are askew, and this is a major elephant in the room that needs addressing now.
Understandably, there will be trepidations by many, but if gyms are kept clean and the correct measurements are being taken, which most gyms already are, why should a platform for physical and mental health be stopped? Gyms should have the right to remain open for the greater good of the nation.