GYM-LOVERS in Herefordshire are thrilled to be able to lift weights again as restrictions on sports facilities are set to ease from as early as Saturday.

Outdoor swimming pools in England are to begin reopening from Saturday, with indoor pools, gyms and other sports facilities to follow on July 25, the Government has announced.

In the latest easing of lockdown restrictions, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also published guidance to enable competitive grassroots team sports to resume, beginning with cricket this weekend.

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Gyms in Herefordshire are now starting the process in gearing up to reopen after initially shutting their doors on March 21.

Ady Watts, who owns two gyms in Hereford and has been a personal trainer for 20 years, said: "We're absolutely delighted to be getting back and helping people get fit and healthy again.

"I think it's much-needed after the lockdown as I think people have been a lot more sedentary on the whole. I know people have been trying to work on their fitness, but a lot of people have been sitting down more and eating a few more calories.

"The need to get fit and active is very much the case."


Sessions will be shortened slightly at Mr Watts' gyms in Rotherwas and at Hereford FC's Edgar Street stadium to ensure everything is thoroughly cleaned between each use.

"We're quite lucky, our business model focusses on lower numbers of people and high-quality coaching so we have a maximum number of eight in any group at any one time.

"We're reducing that further to six to cope with this so we have plenty of space to socially distance. Our business model isn't too hard to adapt to cope."


Gym-goers are also pleased with sports facilities being given the green light to reopen.

Jordan Parham, who plays for American football team Hereford Stampede, said: "It has been very difficult. Those who work out a lot use the gym not only for physical reasons but also as an escape from life's stresses for one or two hours a day.

"Obviously we have been able to work out from home, but for some, the gym is the only option to get the kit and facilities in order to actually escape.

"I started the gym for mental health reasons back when I was younger and that was nine years ago. Since then, other than lockdown, the longest I had gone without a gym session was three days."

Hereford Times:

Jordan Parham playing for Hereford Stampede. Picture: Will Cheshire

The 23-year-old from Hereford added: "Pure Gym had good restrictions in place before lockdown, and I have faith in the Government's assessments of the reopening of gyms, as well as Pure Gym's health and safety assessments.

"I am very happy to go back and start lifting weights again and get back into some form of normality of my normal day to day life."