After a couple of years of lockdowns and restrictions, it honestly seemed as if things were looking up… until the new variant hit and Onatrio reverted back to a modified Step 2 of the provincial government’s “Roadmap to Reopening.” With all the restrictions and closures, it’s been mandated that gyms shut down once again for at least 21 days.
Many people I’ve talked to are feeling frustrated at these closures, myself included. A place that promotes physical and mental benefits should not be closing at a time such as this. This is a place that can and should be considered essential.
Numerous studies through the years have concluded that better mental health is correlated with exercise. It reduces anxiety, depression, negative mood and improves self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. During the cold winter months in Canada, said exercise is hard to achieve effectively. Exercise releases endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin (both are happy chemicals) which are linked to improving mood and alleviating depressive symptoms.
There are people who are in need of physical therapy that can require the gym for certain exercises. Doing it at home would be expensive to get the proper equipment, and is simply not possible if they can’t afford it.
Some individuals use going to the gym as a form of therapy. During these tough times, movement is extremely important. Whether it’s to distract themselves from the world or to process what they may be going through, it’s a healthy coping mechanism for them.
Exercise is also often linked to having a longer, healthier life. It keeps your bones, muscles, and joints healthy, lowers blood pressure, manages stress etc. The benefits are immense. It helps to manage chronic health conditions such as arthritis or diabetes by helping with things like stamina, joint swelling, pain, and muscle strength. All these benefits correlate to living a longer and healthier life- something that can become increasingly difficult when gyms are locked down.
Now I’m not necessarily saying gyms are the only place to workout. You could definitely try some at-home workouts: lord knows I’ve tried. But, there’s only so much you could do, and at one point, the gyms become essential for some. Weight training, resistance, running etc. can be harder to do, especially if you don’t have the budget to afford dumbbells or machinery.