While some return to the gym, others would rather workout at home

Nov 12, 2021 | Et Cetera, Sports

It is easy to get into a mental slump as winter seems just around the corner.

It’s getting darker earlier and temperatures are dropping. Soon, outdoor workouts are not going to be an option.

Premier Doug Ford recently announced the reopening of gyms because of and high vaccination rates and recent lowerer case counts — although they are currently on the rise again and the province has paused its complete reopening plan.

While many people are happy to hear the news, some are still hesitant to be in public gyms while the pandemic continues.

“People’s mental and physical health have taken a major decline because the government felt we weren’t an essential business,” said Teresa Heron, co-owner of Huf Gym in Mississauga.

Gyms have been one of the many services that had closed due to public health concerns. People bought gym equipment for home or find online workouts and trainers that suited their personal needs.

But Heron says it’s not comparable to the real thing.

“You have a sense of family, especially in a smaller gym like ours. We know everyone that comes in here and their schedule,” Heron said. “You’re getting much-needed social interaction.”

Gyms have been open since July and require full vaccination to enter. Plus, people must always wear their mask.

Frieda Fernandez enjoying her time at Huf gym as she gets ready to enter the ring

Frieda Fernandez enjoying her time at Huf Gym as she gets ready to enter the boxing ring for a sparring match. Some are rejoicing as gyms are reopened after months of COVID-19 related closures. Photo credit: Trishelle Dotson

While many rejoice, there is still skepticism about entering an enclosed space with multiple people breathing heavily and touching equipment.

Rudy Petrillo, a spokesperson for Planet Fitness, said there are multiple safety procedures to ensure gym-goers and staff are protected.

“Our employees conduct a regular and thorough cleaning of all equipment, surfaces, and areas of the club and regularly complete deep cleanings,” he said. “Although we cannot eliminate all risks associated with COVID-19, we’ve taken several additional steps to strengthen our existing cleanliness policies and procedures.”

Petrillo says Planet Fitness (PF) has seen many of its members return to the gym, excited the facilities were allowed to reopen. Some of their locations were closed for over nine months in the GTA, and have seen many members return.

“Many businesses and industries have faced difficult times during COVID-19, and we, as the fitness industry, were no exception,” Petrillo said. “By offering free PF workouts on our mobile app, it’s helped support members through their fitness journey even while we were closed.”

Frieda Fernandez squares up in the ring with trainer Curtis from Huf Gym

Frieda Fernandez spars in the ring with trainer Curtis Bloomfield at Huf Gym in Mississauga. Photo credit: Trishelle Dotson

There was a sharp rise in home workouts online or through on-demand streaming services during the pandemic. Socacize instructor Kiara Carraby noticed an increased demand for online training and exercises.

“People needed something to keep them accountable, and many relied on working out as an outlet,” Carraby said. “I find it a struggle to breathe with the mask when I am just walking down the street, let alone working out with it.”

Carraby said she understands the hesitancy to return to gyms because there is no guarantee COVID-19 can’t spread through the machines. There are also more people in a confined space.

Heron said home workouts may be convenient, but people need to have that interaction.

“People are getting tired of looking at screens,” Heron said.