If you’ve missed taking fitness classes in a group setting, you aren’t alone. For many people this is the only thing that “works” to keep them consistently exercising in a way that’s fun, supportive, and sometimes even addictive. While Covid-19 may or may not be why you haven’t been sweating in a local class, many people are looking to get back into it in safe ways, and we are here to help. Pandemic or no pandemic consistently moving our bodies in safe and healthful ways is needed for every BODY. Here’s how we are tackling the fall fitness needs in our community.

At The Wellness Center we will be opening to the public in a limited capacity. This means extra space for everyone in our classes. Social distancing has helped to slow the spread of covid-19 and is one way we can safely gather to work out. Not only will we ask that you keep a distance in class, but also before and after. Many times, people come to our facility and others to spend quality time with friends. While we know everyone is eager to shake, stretch and sweat together again, we know you want to catch up too. We will ask that no one gather or linger in our studio or hallways. The parking lot, however, is a great place to catch up.

We will be enforcing a mask policy. While this may not be true for all gyms, we do suggest you take our lead. Masks are a great way to keep your germs with you. And while many people are vaccinated, when it comes to safety, we feel a mask is the best way to keep everyone safe from the traditional transmission to breakthrough cases. We have tested masks in a variety of classes from yoga to Zumba® and Drums Alive® and we have had zero complaints. In fact, some people who were nervous about wearing a mask in the class said it was so much better than they thought.   The Mayo Clinic along with the World Health Organization and many others have studied the implications of wearing masks while participating in vigorous exercise and the results are all the same, that there is little impact on performance, oxygen levels and/or blood pressure. To us, the positives of wearing a mask far outweigh the negatives. In fact, Dr. Keri L. Denay, the medical director of Briarwood Family and Sports Medicine and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, shared this in a Healthline interview: “I think the biggest error, and it’s still done in some places, is requiring masks when you enter the facility and then allowing people to take them off when exercising,” Denay told Healthline. “That makes absolutely no sense. If you put individuals into a high-intensity activity where you’re huffing and puffing, that only exacerbates things,” she continued. Hence, At The Wellness Center, we are masking up.

While some of our most popular classes were done in circuits or a group rotating from station to station, we are choosing to forgo any shared materials for the time being. No one will share weights, kettlebells, balls, bands, mats, or anything with us this fall/winter. Sure, we could take time to clean in-between each person, but we have chosen to increase our equipment to make sure each person has what they need for each class without having to share items. We will however ask that each person completely sanitize ALL equipment used in each class, which has been a long-standing protocol for us and many gyms.

One of the most important things we are asking for this session and we suggest you bring to any gym, business or gathering place, is kindness. We are asking everyone to remember we are all doing our best. We are all looking for a positive, healthy, and safe experience. At The Wellness Center we want every single person to feel valued, respected and cared for not only by our staff, but each other. Everyone needs a little extra patience right now. Some of us haven’t worked out in over a year, others have lost their jobs or maybe just moved into town. If you are joining us this session, bring a little extra kindness with you to each workout, we think it will go a long way.

Not everyone is ready to return to group fitness or gyms and that is ok. What matters is that you are taking care of yourself and moving your body in healthful ways. We will still offer multiple virtual options for those who like to work out at home, but don’t be scared to get outside. Walk a new neighborhood each week. Go for a hike on your days off. Meet up with a friend to ride bikes. We can all still find healthy and safe ways to move this Fall and into the coming winter months. All of us need to get our heart rates up, burn off stress and move. Don’t let covid-19 take away your strength, flexibility, and independence. Join us with our six days a week fitness classes, reach out about virtual classes by calling 334-5566, or get outside for fresh air and move.

Life isn’t always easy, but somehow everything seems a little easier after some movement. However you choose to stay active this Fall we hope you will consider our suggestions of staying distant, masking inside, not sharing materials and spreading kindness wherever you go! Oh, and don’t forget your water! Let’s get moving together as a community this Fall, let’s get back to wellness!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center