A PERSONAL trainer has argued gyms should not be among the venues closed as part of the coronavirus lockdown in England.

Joel Graham, who lives near Hereford, said there is little evidence to justify closing gyms, and that it will have an impact on people’s mental health.

He’s had to re-think how he runs his business, now offering video sessions via his website as gyms were forced to shut on November 5 for four weeks as part of the second national Covid-19 lockdown.

“My point of view is that it’s upsetting due to the fact it’s been shown how safe gyms are,” Mr Graham, 20, said.

“All of our guidelines are two metres and everything is wiped, everything you touch in the gym is wiped as soon as you’ve used it.

“When you’re in the supermarket or when people are at school, not everything’s cleaned when you’ve touched it.

“But it’s mandatory when you’ve touched a bar, you wipe that bar down, you’ve got loads of cleaning stations and every gym is the same.”

He also argued that people visiting the gym was not just about the physical health, but also mental.

“Mental health is a big thing as well, I’ve been a big part of helping people not only physically but mentally.

“A lot of my clients it’s not only physical goals but mental goals. People in classes when I was doing boxing loved it, not for the fitness as they were in great shape and didn’t need to lose weight or anything, but after a long week of a stressful job it just helps them get through life.

“I’m training 40 people a week, but it’s got to be 40 per cent of people are doing it just for the mental side. The other 60 [per cent] is not just the physical side, but the mental side is a big part too.”

More than 590,000 people have now signed a petition calling on the Government to keep gyms opening during any lockdowns.

A Government spokesperson recently said exercise is still allowed outdoors and recognise the importance of people doing so.

They said outdoor exercise can be done alone, with your household, or one person from another.