As announced on Oct. 25, 2021, Ontario lifted COVID-19 restrictions placed on gyms provided customers show proof of full immunization.
After a year of having no access to gyms and fitness centres, the province is slowly progressing into allowing some limit of capacities. People can finally return to the gym without the worry of booking online or having restrictions set in place.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY SARA SHEIKH / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
“I think the most challenging thing was the time restraint of only having an hour and fifteen minutes to do a full workout. And if you like to pace yourself as I do, then that can be extremely difficult to work with,” said Jay Morgan, membership holder at Laurier Brantford YMCA.
Time restrictions can be difficult to deal with especially if one is used to having the freedom of time when they regularly exercise. Since fitness centers wanted to ensure safety was always available to everyone, time limitations were put in place to avoid overcrowding of the entire area.
There has also been a lack of motivation for some people to return to the gym since many people have had such a long break away from it. The habits and discipline may have diminished during the lockdown and with the extra rules set in place, some have been deterred from being at the gym entirely.
“With the capacity limit in place, there would usually be a line up outside the gym. In all honesty, I would just go back home and skip that day’s workout,” said Menji Mhlanga, a fourth-year student at Laurier Brantford.
Lines at grocery stores, fitness centers and malls seemed to all be places people were seen to be standing and waiting for long periods which caused a pile-up of people.
Inside the facilities, lines were still a problem and many people voiced their concerns about the wait times.
Masks were and still are mandatory when moving from station to station at gyms and can only be removed when exercising in a specific place.
Regardless of the rules enforced, people are happy to be returning to gyms and have shared their excitement for things moving away from the lockdown restriction-based setup.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED MY MICHAEL OKUNOLA / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
“Now that the restrictions have eased up, I feel a lot more confident in the workouts I can complete. I don’t have to keep constantly watching the clock in between sets and I can return to enjoying the gym experience,” said Morgan.
The immunization process for all indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities requires showing proof of full vaccination of COVID-19 as well as completing a daily health assessment.
There are more people likely to return or start a new habit of exercising regularly within gyms since winter is slowly approaching. Starting the habit now could be the ideal thing for individuals trying to become disciplined in going to the gym.
“What I’ve missed the most in the gym that is now returning is seeing all the friends I’ve made in the gym. Friends made in the gym will often give me tips and tricks on how to target certain muscle groups, advice on properly using certain equipment and ultimately motivate me to keep pushing to achieve my goals,” said Mhlanga.
Companionship at the gym can be a sight many see, with people having a training partner to help keep both people motivated and working hard. Especially early in the process, exercising on your own can be a scary and gruelling process but having friends can make the situation easier and more enjoyable to deal with.
A workout partner is also a way to keep another person accountable for their actions and now this opportunity can begin to reform.
“I think the facility staff have done an amazing job pivoting and adapting to all of the restriction changes over the past year and a half to ensure that the space is safe and welcoming for all students and members,” said Megan Jacklin, a coordinator of recreation and student life at Laurier Brantford.
“The facility is obviously not as busy and full of life as it used to be pre-COVID19 and we definitely miss that energy, but it has been refreshing to see it starting to come back!”
The Laurier Brantford YMCA had to adjust and adapt to how things were changing so quickly, but the staff have done an amazing job to keep the environment positive and professional.
“I hope that students and members feel safe and welcomed in the space as restrictions continue to lift and that they feel comfortable to engage in more programming and activities,” said Jacklin. “I think we still have a long road ahead of us before we are able to get back to complete normalcy with what we can offer in this space, but it’s motivating to see pushes towards it.”
Students and members are encouraged to return to Laurier Brantford YMCA to enjoy programs, lessons, and a cheerful environment to help boost one’s mental and physical health.
Exercising helps relieve stress, promotes positive habits, and is also an ideal place for people to socialize and learn from each other. Laurier students are encouraged to take advantage of the fitness centers around them to promote a healthy and productive lifestyle.