YORKTON -- A group of fitness and studio owners in Saskatchewan are pushing the provincial government to view the exercise spaces as essential services.

Jolene de Vries, a member of the Saskatchewan collation with the Fitness Industry Council of Cananda, said exercise is important for people’s physical and mental health.

Her colleague Alicia Simoneau, the owner of Pumphouse Athletic Club, agrees.  

"It’s important that the fitness side is made available for them (customers) as an essential service for our health, mental health and physical health. It’s proven that they go together," Simoneau said.

de Vries originally started the Saskatchewan Fitness Council, later joining with the coalition group after realizing it had already been established.   

While the Saskatchewan collation doesn't currently have a lot of members, de Vries is hopeful other facilities around the province will join her fight.

“We’re hoping to actually attack this as a whole,” said de Vries, who owns the Anytime Fitness in Yorkton.  

In an emailed statement, the provincial government said while it does not consider gyms as an essential service, it recognizes their health benefits.

“We recognize that they promote physical and mental wellness and therefore they were included in phase 3 of the Re-open Saskatchewan plan,” the province said.