New Years resolutions: Gyms urge public to prioritize physical health amid pandemic


PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — January 1st is a busy day for gyms, as people set fitness goals and get started on their New Year’s resolutions. With capacity limited to 25%, one gym in Penfield appeared to be very quiet and steady.

One gym goer at Athletic Apex in Penfield, Justine Shults, says this is her favorite day of the year. “With everything going on in this world, its amazing for our mental health and its amazing for our immune system so I’m just trying to stay focused on that,” she said.

Jeff Sanders is CEO. He says even with safety protocols, and less than 1% of COVID transmission linked to gyms in the state, he still senses some apprehension from regulars.

“We’ve never seen the first of the year in as low attendance as it was,” said Sanders.

Additionally, operating at such a low capacity is contributing to the quietness. He says it can feel limiting.

“This is a time where people launch new goals and they’re excited, and not being able to participate in that as much as we would, what is that going to do for mental health?” he said.

With COVID-19 cases at an all-time high in the county, Sanders is urging everyone to prioritize physical health. The good news is it doesn’t have to be at the gym.

“Go walk, make sure you’re taking stairs every chance you get but don’t let this stuff affect your mental state,” he said.

Kevin Miller, personal trainer with Elevate 585 agrees. He says in these times we need to remember that good fitness can lead to better mental health.

“We found that physical health can help with mental and psychological health as well, and as we see this year that’s one of the biggest obstacles for people,” he said.

Sanders is also part of the New York State Fitness Alliance, and says they’re working to get the state to consider easing up on capacity limitations – especially for smaller gyms where a lot of those staff members have been laid off.

Athletic apex in Penfield is also offering virtual classes and training sessions as well.

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