Staying Fit and Safe During COVID-19 in the New Year

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

What do safe workouts look like during a public health crisis? As 2021 draws near and New Year’s resolutions stay top-of-mind, experts from the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago have some tips on how to maintain an active lifestyle while staying protected from COVID-19. Becky Neal, Health and Wellness Director at the Fry Family YMCA in Naperville, emphasizes the importance of fitness as a preventative health measure. As a fitness expert, I urge just about everyone to keep a regular exercise routine,” Neal said. “Staying fit means your body’s better equipped to fight illness in general. With proper planning, incorporating gym workouts into your daily life can help boost your immune system.”

The rhythms, layout, and structure of out-of-home workouts have changed substantially since before the pandemic, Neal notes. From closed locker rooms to using exercise equipment with a mask on, acclimating to fitness’s “new normal” requires some adjustment and advance preparation. When working out at the Y, Neal suggests arriving 10 minutes before a scheduled gym time, dressed and ready to work out, to accommodate the Y’s thorough check-in process. She also emphasizes the importance of easing into physical activity.

Above all, Neal remarks, working out during a pandemic requires a change in mindset—one that mirrors COVID-19 adjustments already commonplace in other areas of life. “We have to shift gears all the time,” said Neal. “As a community and as a society, we’re getting better at shifting gears to keep ourselves safe—exercise is no different.”

The Y of Metro Chicago’s locations throughout the city and suburbs adhere to strict safety protocols that include temperature checks, hand sanitizer stations, frequent facility cleanings, and safety questions upon entry for both members and staff. A reservation system has been put in place at all membership centers to maintain social distancing and capacity limits. To make a reservation, members can visit the Y of Metro Chicago’s Reopening Resource Center webpage or use our mobile app. For those interested in joining the Y of Metro Chicago’s diverse, health-minded membership, the Y is currently offering a limited-time, $0 joiner fee. To sign up or for more information, visit our website, contact your local Y center, or call Member Services at 773-905-5115 (M-F: 8 am – 7 pm).

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