COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Governor Jared Polis has asked the state health department to lower the COVID dial from level red to orange for counties who've been under those higher restrictions in recent weeks. HIs decision comes after two weeks of steady declines in the number of new infections across the state as well as an expansion in ICU hospital bed capacity.
The change couldn't come at a better time for gyms and fitness centers as January is typically one of the busiest times of the year. At level red, they can only operate at 10 percent capacity. However, level orange raises that capacity limit to 25 percent.
Cathe Saxon, the Personal Training Manager at Lifetime Fitness in Briargate said her company recently surveyed its members nationwide. They found that over 70 percent believed COVID restrictions have negatively impacted their health.
"We've found that a lot of people working from home have gotten more sedentary and they've lost their motivation to come into the gym to work out," Saxon said.
Staying active benefits both the mind and body. Saxon explained that exercise releases endorphins that promote healthy brain chemistry. Those members who visit the club regularly also report feeling a stronger sense of belonging.
While restrictions may be easing up, Lifetime still follows many COVID precautions. Members must have their temperature checked as they walk in. Wearing masks is mandatory at all times. Physical barriers have been set up to separate various workout areas. Group classes are smaller, require reservations, and are held in larger spaces.
"We're hoping that we'll still get people to come in, maybe they'll be a little less afraid seeing the extent that we've gone to try and keep them safe and knowing that exercise does boost the immune system," Saxon said.
Sticking to New Year's resolutions take accountability. So, Lifetime has changed up its annual Commitment Day. The event is happening virtually this year so that members can keep those promises to themselves, whether they visit the gym in person or working out from home.
"The members have the option to choose a movement program, a virtual 5K, a cycling, get so many miles in per month," she said. "They're having to go in and hold themselves accountable by logging these exercises."
Saxon also points out that regular exercise is an important factor in maintaining a healthy immune system, which is crucial should you ever be exposed to COVID-19.