The entrepreneur behind a number of leisure and fitness brands is backing a national ‘Work Out to Help Out’ campaign to encourage people back to the gym after lockdown.
Mo Chaudry – who runs Waterworld and M Club spa and fitness in Stoke-on-Trent among others – is one of 200,000 people across the UK who have signed a petition urging the Government to fund a ‘Work Out to Help Out’ scheme.
It is hoped the scheme will work in the same way the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme in the summer to entice customers back to pubs and restaurants – by encouraging people to visit gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools.
The petition, which was set up by Health Club Magazine Editor Liz Terry, states: “We want the government to recognise the importance of gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools in empowering people to look after their health and stay fit and for them to open first as we come out of lockdown.
“We’re also calling for government to fund a Work Out to Help Out scheme.
“Gyms are an essential service in underpinning the health of the nation.
“Activity levels fell dramatically during 2020 lockdowns, as people could not get to their gym to exercise safely.
“The government opened pubs before gyms and spent £500m on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which encouraged unhealthy behaviour in a health crisis. The virus is more serious for people who are overweight and unfit. The focus this time must be on health and wellbeing and getting people active.”
Now Mo Chaudry is urging people to back the campaign.
He said: “As we contemplate the end of lockdown – which hopefully won’t be too far away now – gyms and fitness centres need to be among the first wave of businesses allowed to reopen.
“Last year, the Government gave a big financial helping hand to the hospitality trade with its ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme, enticing the public back into pubs, restaurants and cafes.
“This time, I’m backing a campaign for a ‘Work Out To Help Out’ programme instead, which I believe has much greater long-term benefits for us all.
“Not only would it give a financial lift to thousands of businesses in the leisure sector when they need it most, it has huge physical and mental health benefits too.
“I’ve already signed the petition and would urge you to do the same.”
He added: “To me, this is an absolute no-brainer. Gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools are all essential tools for safeguarding the health of the nation, and this needs to be recognised.
“I’m not just saying this because I have a vested interest in the sector – although I clearly do – but because there is both scientific and anecdotal proof that exercise, diet and healthy living really does make a difference.
“It can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help us to just lose a few of the pounds we might have added during lockdown.
“But the physical benefits are just one piece of the wellbeing jigsaw. For many, it’s the mental health impact of Covid-19 which has left the deepest scars.
“Regular exercise can improve your mood, reduce stress levels, raise self-esteem, improve confidence, and eliminate some of the most common symptoms associated with depression.
What do you think about the call for a ‘Work Out to Help Out’ campaign? Let us know in the comments section below
“Several recent studies suggest that whether you lift weights or go for a run, working out has the potential to reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health. They also point to the fact that exercising can help make you feel happier — and in some cases, pretty quickly.
“Exercise really does have the ability to keep the mind youthful, and it’s never too late to start. We should all be exercising regularly, both to look and feel at our best and to maintain a positive mindset.
“So if you do ‘Work Out To Help Out’ it’s not just the gyms and fitness centres who will be feeling the benefits . “