The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-09-22

Sport : 17 : 9

Sport

9 The Daily Telegraph Tuesday 22 September 2020 ** Leisure sector given hope in bid to stay open despite fresh spike and leisure centres, produced research last week which suggested a “very low” prevalence of Covid among gym users. Further new research, commission­ed for ukactive, to coincide with National Fitness more than half ranking exercise in the top three ways to help. “Physical activity has never before played such a vital role in our lives, as we continue to face the health implicatio­ns of the pandemic,” said Baroness Tanni GreyThomps­on, the chair of ukactive. “We not only have the chance to improve our mental and physical health, but also to give ourselves a better chance against Covid-19 and reduce the burden on the NHS.” Tim Hollingswo­rth, the chief executive of Sport England, added: “Our sports clubs, gyms and leisure centres help form the fabric of our society: improving well-being, reducing loneliness and anti-social behaviour and boosting productivi­ty in the workplace.” particular­ly scrutinise­d, as are outdoor activities that attract large numbers of participan­ts and close contact. Sports minister Nigel Huddleston, however, specifical­ly addressed the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s annual conference yesterday and stressed the importance of keeping the sector open. “We need sport now more than ever – sport and physical activity are crucial to both our physical and mental health – both of which have been tested by this pandemic,” he said. “We need the country to get match fit to beat Covid. Too many facilities have been unable to open. We need them to open.” Ukactive, which represents public and private gyms, swimming pools chief sports reporter By Jeremy Wilson Physical activity has been identified as the best way to help the National Health Service during the Covid-19 pandemic, boosting gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in their push to remain open amid a surge in new infections. After being shut down between March and July – and then only coming back after pubs and restaurant­s reopened – the leisure sector believes that it has proved it can operate in a way that sufficient­ly mitigates the risk of spreading Covid-19. Yesterday’s warning, however, of a potential major second wave of Covid-19 infections has led to fears of further new measures. Details are expected today and there is concern within the sector that the recreation­al return of some sports and activities could be curtailed. Indoor sports are expected to be

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