Slides by Carter Hobbs
Over a year ago people went to the gym when they pleased and never had a thought about a national pandemic that would keep them out of the gym for months. Going to the gym is a reliever for a lot of people after a long day of work, or after a long school day. People can relieve themselves in the gym and be in their own space, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. COVID-19 hits and the gym life changed. Gyms were closed for months and people either did not work out or made their own home gym. Gym equipment prices skyrocketed, so many people may not have been able to afford the equipment. The gym lifestyle took a change to the digital age. Trainers posted videos on body weight and weightless exercise everyone can do at home to stay fit. Many gym classes are now taught online. This pandemic has been detrimental to the gym lifestyle, and is affecting people’s mental health, gym’s ability to stay open.
The gym lifestyle has totally changed now. Some gyms are requiring people to book a time slot for when they want to work out and a lot of these times are less than 2 hours, which means less time to work out. Gyms require you to wear a mask while working out and will yell at you if you are not wearing it properly. Equipment needs to be wiped down now after every use, and there are retained cleanings that are scheduled throughout the day for cleaning the gym. Many gyms now have limited hours and with the time slots it makes it hard to book a time. A lot of amenities that a lot of people enjoyed using like the sauna, or tanning bed, and even some locker rooms are not available for access. In addition to all these problems, gyms are not even at full capacity. In Massachusetts, the gyms are at 50% capacity and other states may be lower. Having to book a time and be there with a mask on and for a limited time, it is more like a chore to go to the gym now than ever before.
People’s mental health during this whole pandemic has taken a huge hit. People are working from home now and are spending a lot more time in their houses in isolation and this leads to snacking, which leads to possible weight gain. According to Nuvance Health, “COVID-19-related concerns may affect dietary habits, leading to higher calorie consumption that could promote weight gain…Additionally, many people are coping with fear, anxiety, stress, financial concerns, sadness, boredom, and isolation — all of which can have a negative effect on diet, physical health, and mental well-being.” People need human interaction. It is a part of who we are and being locked up does not help us. KFF states, “During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.” This is a big increase from 2019 and is something we all need to be aware about and try to provide help for those who need it. Exercise can help a lot of these things Nuvance Health says,” Exercise boosts the immune system, may prevent weight gain, reduces stress and anxiety, and lastly improves sleep.” Exercise is so important for mental health and we all need to stay active and stay healthy.
According to Melissa Rodrigues, “Based on data from major payment processing firms, 15% of fitness clubs and studios in the U.S. have closed permanently as of September 30. Up to one in four American health clubs may close by the end of the year as club operators grapple with the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportionate impact.” This is a huge number of gyms closing because they cannot sustain to be open with the lack of members and the capacity limits. People are afraid to go to the gym because they feel gyms are hot spots for covid. KHN has evidence to prove it is safe to go to the gym, “The resultant report said that the overall “visits to virus” ratio of 0.002% is “statistically irrelevant” because only 1,155 cases of coronavirus were reported among more than 49 million gym visits.” The number of positives in the gyms is little to none. There is not a lot to be worried about when going to the gym because of the extensive cleaning measures that are being taken.
Overall, the pandemic has had a huge impact on the gym lifestyle and the ability to go to the gym. With vaccines coming out the gyms should be opening more and allowing more people. Being vaccinated will hopefully give people the courage to come back to the gym and get out of the slump they have been in and be active again.
Health, N. (2020, December 10). Exercise is essential for well-being during covid-19 pandemic. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus/exercise-is-essential-for-well-being-during-covid-19-pandemic/
Nirmita Panchal, R., Kamal, R., Garfield, R., & Cox, C. (2021, April 14). The implications of Covid-19 for mental health and substance use. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/
Rodriquez, M. (2020, November 19). One in four health & fitness clubs could close by year-end. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.ihrsa.org/about/media-center/press-releases/15-of-health-fitness-clubs-in-the-u-s-permanently-closed/
Stone, W. (2020, September 11). Making gyms safer: Why the virus is less likely to spread there than in a bar. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://khn.org/news/making-gyms-safer-why-the-virus-is-less-likely-to-spread-there-than-in-a-bar/