Bedford gym refuses to shut despite new national lockdown

Owners argue mental wellbeing and immune system rely on physical exercise

By Clare Turner
Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 10:59 am

A Bedford gym is refusing to shut during the second national lockdown, saying it is not part of the problem.

Although it is not denying Covid is real, Gainz Fitness & Strength - in Shuttleworth Road, on the Elm Farm Industrial Estate - has vowed to defy the Government's ban, arguing that a lot of people depend on the gym for their mental wellbeing.

In a statement on Instagram and Facebook, owner Alex Lowndes lays out the reasoning behind the decision in a document which can be downloaded.

Alex Lowndes on the gym's Instagram page

He said in a video on Instagram: "We have decided that in fact we are going to stay open."

And added: "The reasons for that are laid out in a document that we have prepared which is two full pages, contains a lot of facts, a lot of relevant information."

In the document, he says that a lot of people need the gym for their mental wellbeing.

It states: "This may be hard to understand for some people, but it’s very much a reality. We witnessed a breakdown in people's mental health during the first lockdown and this isn’t something anybody wants to repeat. The links between depression and exercise are well documented. The immune system relies on physical exercise and during these times, this is paramount."

The statement also adds: "Our gym is extremely clean, something members often comment on. Since reopening, we have brought in a system of cleaning, whereby after use, members clean down all touch points on each piece of equipment with antibacterial spray, and members are adhering to this very well."

The decision follows a similar one in Merseyside when a gym owner was fined for refusing to close down as part of Liverpool's Tier 3 restrictions.

Alex added on his Instagram post: "Gyms are part of the solution here, not the problem. We need to be allowed to stay open. We are staying open. We hope that becomes legal in time."

He told Bedford Today: "It's nothing to do with money or PR - this is so much bigger than this. We are getting the message out there that the Government has got it wrong."

He added that the public - not just from Bedford - have been so supportive of the gym's stance and the vause, they've even offered money to pay for any fine.

Visit the gym's Facebook page here and and it's website here