GYMS reopening has to be a 'positive experience for everyone', campaigners have said.

From Monday, August 10, gyms will be reopening across Wales as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

For many, this will come as a relief as they are able to return to their normal fitness routines and for some getting back in the gym is a great way to improve their mental health and relieve anxiety.

For those with eating disorders however, heading back to the gym can present challenges of its own. In particular, thoughtless language surrounding the way our bodies may have changed during lockdown can be extremely harmful for those in recovery.

The current coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown has been incredibly difficult for those with mental health issues as a result of anxiety surrounding the crisis and an inability to access support services.

Campaigners are now trying to ensure that gyms are safe spaces for those struggling and that we all consider the language we use and how it can affect others.

Mental health campaigner Hope Virgo said: “We have seen an increase in the number of people struggling with food over lockdown, which has been made worse by the number of people who are pushing unhealthy messages around food, from diet culture, to comments like “shift the lockdown lard” to the amount of diet programs currently on the TV.

"It is essential that we make sure that gym’s and fitness classes are safe places for people with eating disorders where they can go without feeling triggered."

Jack Sargeant, Member of the Senedd for Alyn and Deeside added: “This is about making sure we recognise the power our words have and the impact they can have on the mental health of those around us.

“I firmly believe that putting kindness at the forefront of everything we do is vital. Taking a moment to think before you speak and remember that words matter can make a real difference.

“I would encourage all gym owners and staff to consider how they can provide a supportive and safe environment for those who suffer with eating disorder. Gyms reopening has to be a positive experience for everyone.”