Gyms to stay open across tiers in huge victory for fitness community

Orwell Fitness was co-founded by Kirsty Turner and Darren Totten and has had massive success in attracting loyal members.

Orwell Fitness was co-founded by Kirsty Turner and Darren Totten and has had massive success in attracting loyal members. Picture: ORWELL FITNESS - Credit: Archant

Gyms and leisure centres will be allowed to stay open even in Tier 3 when lockdown ends, after a change of heart from the government.

Jack Cardy owns Live Fit Gym in Manningtree in 2019 and had bought all new machines just one week before gyms closed for a...

Jack Cardy owns Live Fit Gym in Manningtree in 2019 and had bought all new machines just one week before gyms closed for a second national lockdown. Picture: JACK CARDY - Credit: Archant

For many people this move is a win not just for fitness, but also for mental health, as the long periods of isolation have taught us that exercise and activity is key in caring for both the mind and body.

MORE: Covid lockdown to end next week as tier system returns

Darren Hotten and Kirsty Turner founded Orwell Fitness in 2018, running CrossFit and weightlifting classes for adults and children on the banks of the famous Ipswich river.

Mr Hotten, aged 35, said the decision to allow gyms to stay open has been received best by the gym’s members who are overwhelmingly happy for the business.

“Being fairly small they are just so pleased we can open again,” he said.


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“It’s not just your physical health but your mental health that benefits from exercise.

“Going to the gym is such a big part of our lives, it’s the few hours you get away from work or your family to forget everything else and it’s so negative to take that away from people.”

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The strict measures and lockdowns have caused many people to take up additional exercise and even readjust their priorities.

Mr Hotten said they saw an influx of enquiries when the gyms reopened the first time with people becoming more aware of the importance of their health.

Jack Cardy opened LiveFit Gym in Manningtree in 2019 and had bought all new machines at the end of October – which members got to enjoy for just one week before the second lockdown started.

“I’m not putting anything on it this time but it felt great to hear the news we’d be staying open even in Tier 3,” he admitted.

“Leaving gyms open in all tiers is just common sense for mental and physical health and we are just chuffed.

“It was hard having just over one week with our new kit before we had to close but we had a surge in memberships at the end of the last lockdown and what we have now is a brand new product, a gym which looks and feels amazing with all the Covid measures in place.”

Gym owners across the region have gone to great lengths to ensure facilities are clean safe and proved just how vital they are to keeping us all healthy.

MORE: New coronavirus tier restrictions explained

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