Staying fit in Park Ex during and in the aftermath of Covid-19

A look at some of the gyms in the area and professional tips for exercising amidst the calamity that is Covid-19

Since Covid-19 struck many months ago, the world—especially many business industries in the area—were hit severely hard. We all know how difficult it was for the restaurant industry, but perhaps the fitness industry was hit equally hard. And for those that spent at least seven hours a week exercising before Covid-19 hit, the closure of gyms was a difficult blow to take.

Of course the internet was ablaze with fitness gurus giving tips on how to train at home and get a good workout regardless; a slew showing how rubber bands and a pair of chairs was enough to get the workout you needed to stay shredded.

A most fatal blow

Perhaps the fitness industry was expected to have a slow time recovering after Covid-19, but it’s actually looking pretty good as it stands right now. At least, that’s what we uncovered after doing al little digging into the gyms in the area.

24-Fit Canada gym closed before Covid-19 and in a statement the person we spoke to made, their closing had nothing at all to do with the recent pandemic.

But there are a few other options in the area to get in shape now that the pandemic seems to be winding down, specifically if you’re a woman.

Éconofitness au feminine

A look inside Éconofitness au feminine on Jean-Talon/ Photo courtesy of Google image capture (picasa) 2015

We spoke to Chloe, the front desk clerk this week, and although she started the job after Covid-19 hit, she’s responsible for the front desk and for cleaning the machines. She stated that there are anywhere from 10 to 20 people in the gym at one time and that the wearing of masks is absolutely mandatory. She also stated that they wipe the machines down every hour, disinfecting them thoroughly.  She said that everyone is complying with the wearing of masks … employees and clients alike.

A training facility not too far from home

And if you don’t consider Jeanne-Mance street all that far away, and you’re into a mode of exercise that’s a little more intense than a simple walk on a treadmill, then perhaps Gym Le Vestiaire is in order. It’s located near Jarry Park. We spoke to owner Emmanuelle Blais, and she says business is booming. According to her, all of her clients returned and have started training vigorously once more.

They do not offer outdoor training like some CrossFit gyms do, but they guarantee two meters of training space once at a training station. A mask is not required during training and once the boundaries of two meters are established, but simply walking around the premises, a mask is required.

This of course is understandable, as Crossfit is rather strenuous and the wearing of a mask during such training would definitely be rather difficult. With crazy amounts of cardiovascular training, deadlifts, muscle-ups, clean and presses and a plethora of other heavy exercises, training with a mask on would be disastrous; especially where lung capacity is one of the most important things.

What experts say about how important exercise is at this time

A specialist in the field, PhD Anthony Borsellino offers insight on how you can stay in shape during Covid-19 (Courtesy Anthony Borsellino)

We spoke to Anthony Borsellino, who holds a PhD in Naturopathy from the Collège Supérieur de Naturopathie du Québec. Among other things, he is also a personal trainer and sole owner of Caballus Gym and Health Center. He has clients from all over the city and province including Park Extension, and he had this to say about keeping fit during Covid-19: “With exercise, the immune system will definitely get stronger, for people of any age.” With a stronger immune system, the body will be better equipped to fight Covid-19 should you catch it, “like any other flu,” he adds.

When we asked him what people should do if still wary to go to the public gyms he said: “Do something you love doing … reconnect with nature, and do something every day. Don’t just sit around. If you can do a set of squats, do them.”

He went on to explain the importance of diet and nutrition as well, especially in times like these: “Lean meats, fish … stay away from sugar, gluten. Drink a lot of water and get a lot of sleep.”

He stresses that even if Covid-19 wasn’t a factor, it has been proven that those who start an exercise program can extend their life expectancy by ten years or more.

Putting sound advice to good use

Aerobics in the park – Montréal women make the best of a bad pandemic (via Domenic Marinelli)

All over the city, people are exercising outside, whether it be Yoga, weight workouts—you name it. So for you residents of Park Extension that are ready to get back out there and hit the weights or maybe the elliptical, there are certainly a few options. But if you’re not exactly ready for the gyms, take that walk outside and stay as healthy as you can. Today, it might be just a stroll along St-Roch … tomorrow, it might be up and further around the block … next week … the sky’s the limit.