Gyms help to provide exercise opportunities
FINGER LAKES–With COVID-19 numbers throughout the Finger Lakes remaining low many local area gyms have reopened and are serving area residents after being closed for the last six-plus months. In order to prevent the spread of COVID, gyms are operating under new restrictions and some local gyms have even installed new equipment to aid with cleaning.
“We have done every precaution asked by the numerous agencies checking in on us and we have even gone above what they have asked,” said Angelique Wheeler, manager of Snap Fitness in Penn Yan. “We conduct health screenings and have acquired a special machine to neutralize all airborne (particles) along with the surface area multiple times a day.”
Many gyms have begun meeting with members to answer their questions and concerns. Dawn Shipman, fitness manager of the Yates Community Center, said that her gym has been doing the same thing.
“It has been a slow start as members slowly come in and check us out,” Shipman said. “Once they see the measures we have taken they say they are ready.”
Along with providing personal protection equipment like gloves and masks, Shipman said sanitizer and cleaning stations are prevalent throughout the gym and every effort is made to maintain the gym’s cleanliness.
“We rearranged the gym to be more socially distanced. We took away all the classrooms so we could space out the equipment we have so we don’t lose anything,” Shipman mentioned. “This way we don’t just have two treadmills.”
Opening has not only been part of people’s physical health Shipman said but their emotional and social health as well.
“We are only open from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with 15 members allowed per hour to keep in line with state guidelines,” Shipman stated. “However, many seniors are coming back saying they were going stir crazy. The gym for many people is part of their social life, making the gym not just about fitness but also important for their emotional and social health.”
To ensure seniors’ health, Shipman said the community center has cordoned off the first two hours every morning for that group so they can work out when the gym should be the cleanest.
Both Shipman and Wheeler said while they believe gyms are an important part of maintaining the health of people in the region, both are prepared should a second wave of COVID hit the region and another shutdown occurs.
“Whether or not a second wave occurs we have adapted and become resourceful in how we operate,” Wheeler said. “So we have a lot of virtual offerings, for instance, nutrition consults don’t need to be in my office. We utilize multiple online platforms and we have virtual workouts, Facebook Live classes, all of which we have been doing since day one of the shutdown. We can also check-in live on clients for a few minutes to ensure their technique. We’ve adapted here to make sure we can survive.”
Despite being prepared, Shipman said she hopes another shutdown never happens.
“We are hoping that capacity level increases soon as it becomes clear we are not part of the problem but part of the solution because we help keep people healthy,” Shipman said.