Sign the petition by clicking here.
HCM editor, Liz Terry, has launched a Parliamentary Petition calling for gyms to be in the first wave of reopenings after the lockdown and for the government to fund a 'Work Out to Help Out' scheme.
The petition, which has been accepted by the Parliamentary Petitions Committee, has now gone live on the government's website.
Terry said: "Last year, we saw the government opening pubs before gyms as we came out of lockdown. This must not happen again. The fitness industry must unite and fight to ensure that this time around, we are open in the first wave, so we can get back to the valuable work of safeguarding the health of the nation.
"I hope the fitness industry will throw its weight behind this petition and encourage members to sign it, so we can make our voices heard. It's most important for us to stress that people need to sign and then also validate their vote via the email link sent by the Parliamentary Petitions service – this will ensure every vote counts."
In the petition, Terry writes: "We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.
"We're also calling for the government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.
"Gyms are an essential service in underpinning the health of the nation. Activity levels fell dramatically during 2020 lockdowns, as people could not get to their gym to exercise safely.
"The government opened pubs before gyms and spent £500m on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which encouraged unhealthy behaviour in a health crisis.
"The virus is more serious for people who are overweight and unfit. The focus this time around must be on health and wellbeing and getting people active."
According to industry body, ukactive, the UK's physical activity sector will lose around £400m a month during lockdown, while there have been 700m 'lost workouts' as people have been prevented from following their usual exercise regime.
The figure is based on lost membership fees and takes into account existing government support – such as furlough, business rate support and grants.You can sign the petition – titled "Open gyms first as we come out of lockdown and fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme" – by clicking here.