Seven in 10 women feel unsafe exercising outdoors after dark – fuelling calls for gyms to remain open in any future coronavirus lockdowns.
YouGov research for charity Nuffield Health found that 71% of women who exercise feel unsafe exercising outside after sunset.
The poll of 2,090 adults found 65% of those who use a gym or leisure centre said that not being able to access one during lockdown had negatively affected their physical wellbeing, with 55% saying it negatively affected their mental wellbeing.
Nuffield Health medical director Dr Davina Deniszczyc said: “We strongly urge the Government to keep the fitness sector open to guarantee people have access to a safe space to exercise indoors, particularly during the winter months.
“We can clearly see the negative impact the closure of gyms had last winter on people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
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“The latest data from UKactive and our own fitness and wellbeing centres shows that gyms are safe, and any closures would present more of a risk to people’s health as well as lead to greater problems for the NHS longer term.
“Moreover, the fitness and leisure sector is ideally placed to deliver vital community-based rehabilitation for those recovering from Covid and other long term conditions.”