Written by Bob Amic
As with so many businesses, the fitness industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Although there are still negative perceptions to the health and safety for gym members, the fitness industry is looking to further prove that health clubs are safe and vital for overall health.
One of the more prominent health club organizations, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), has been working with medical experts to get their professional opinion on the safety and efficacy of clubs. Just as we have done at Body Systems, most fitness facilities have ramped up cleaning guidelines and safety procedures since the beginning of the pandemic, and data shows that health clubs are not guilty of spreading COVID-19. Most health experts remain perplexed as to why lawmakers are not seeing the positive impact that fitness facilities bring to the public, especially in a time when physical activity can help mitigate the worst of COVID-19 symptoms and cases. I’ll say it one more time, data confirms that health clubs are not a cause of spreading the disease. This is fact based, as several studies have shown through “contact tracing” that gyms are not contributing to the transmission of COVID-19.
It’s profoundly clear that those with pre-existing conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, are at high-risk of contracting the most severe coronavirus issues but they also have the most to gain from benefits of exercise. Robert Sallis, M.D., director of The Sports Medicine Fellowship Program at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, CA, agrees. In an interview with Dr. Sallis, he stated that he was “dismayed” as the government closed so many low-risk activities and facilities where physical activity was a factor. He says, “It's a mistake to discount the importance of a gym to people's health.” And this pertains to both a persons’ physical and emotional health.
Every medical expert that IHRSA has interviewed have agreed that physical activity is more essential now than ever. And with proper safety and cleaning guidelines, health clubs should be viewed as part of the solution to the pandemic as well as for overall health in the future.
Regular exercise is essential for everyone under normal circumstances. However, here are a few reasons why exercise is especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Exercise boosts the immune system: Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise has immune-boosting benefits that may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.
Exercise may prevent weight gain: Exercise can help you burn extra calories caused by dietary changes and offset the effects of sedentary activities.
Exercise reduces stress and anxiety: Exercise is a proven mood-booster and can help adults reduce stress levels and build emotional resilience.
Exercise improves sleep: There is evidence that suggests regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality — and getting a good night’s sleep has also been found to boost your immune system.
On a personal note, after several surgeries and lingering issues from my battle with Multiple Myeloma, consistent exercise is paramount for my continued recovery. The gym is extremely essential for my therapies, and I too, remain perplexed as to the ignorance of decision makers to mandate the gym closure. When the mandate was first issued, I applied to the governor’s office for an exception. As you know, the application was immediately denied, determining Body Systems, as well as other fitness centers to be “non-essential” and denying us the ability to stay open.
Of course, we all need to be vigilant in personal hygiene and sanitizing, and at Body Systems, we have added additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility and perform a daily sterilizing routine to disinfect all areas of the gym. So welcome back, stay safe, stay healthy, stay fit and stay focused. God bless!