Suggy’s Gym owner says government's decision to close fitness centres has created new problems as he highlights mental health challenges during lockdown
The owner of one of the town’s biggest gyms has expressed his frustration with the government after the country entered its second lockdown.
Dean Sugden, of Suggy’s Gym, on Castlegate, Newark, said the treatment of those involved in the grassroots sport and fitness community had been extremely unfair.
“I don’t agree with it at all,” he said. “It is unfair. If you consider the immune system for example, which can be improved by living a fit and healthy lifestyle, then we need to continue to exercise.
“While it is as dark as it is and while the weather is as bad as it is outside, exercising outside isn’t a realistic option for a lot of people.
“The government hasn’t correctly looked at the number of cases coming from gyms or made what I think should have been an educated decision, because there hasn’t been a significant amount of cases coming out of gyms.
“Like a lot of business, gyms made a lot of inroads and changes to ensure that they operate in a safe environment — they should have been governing the standards of gyms rather than just closing them.
“We spent a fortune creating a separate entrance and exit, a toilet accessible outside of the changing rooms, as well as providing temperature checks on arrivals and hand sanitiser on arrival and exit.
“For me, if you are running a safe environment, you should be able to remain open.”
Sugden also pointed towards the huge mental health benefits.
He highlighted recent data from charity MIND, which revealed more people had experienced a mental health crisis during the coronavirus pandemic than ever previously recorded.
“If there is one area that they (the government) needed to protect to keep people fit and healthy mentally it is gyms,” he said.
“If your mind is not exercising it is not releasing endorphins, the happy drug that we all rely on to live our day-to-day lives.
“Otherwise, we are locked up without being able to socialise and exercise properly.”