As my readers know, last Friday was my last day working as a Personal Trainer at the local JCC. Not only was this the end of my employment at that institution, it was also the end of my membership. For the first time in over 20 years, I found myself in the position of not being a member of a JCC and having to look for a fitness facility where I could work out.
I had two weeks to do some research, looking at factors such as location, hours, cost, and (most importantly) approach toward health and safety in the midst of a pandemic. I chose to join the local LA Fitness. The price was right. The location and hours were convenient. And their hygiene practices seem to be in good order–or, at least, no worse than anywhere else. Of course, before I signed on the dotted line I asked what would happen if the governor were to shut down gym facilities. There was a policy in place, but they also told me that I had five days to call the whole thing off and not pay a dime. So it was that last Sunday I did in fact join LA Fitness.
Today, it seems that things have gotten way more serious in NE Ohio. Local schools are closing. The governor has put a curfew in place. The local supermarket is nearly out of toilet paper (perhaps the greatest indicator of where things are).
This evening, I sent an email requesting to cancel my membership. I had only worked out there three times: once during my free trial (the cardio equipment did not work properly), a second time (when all six pieces of cardio equipment I tried did not work properly), and a third time when I used the track. I ran 5k and did so without my mask on. I felt uneasy about it, but the others on the track (all walking) were wearing masks. It bothered me so much that I left the gym committed to wearing a mask no matter what exercise I did at the gym…and if it was heavy cardio where a mask would be an impediment, I would either have to do it at home or outside. Given the trajectory of the pandemic, I just don’t feel comfortable in a place where others may not be as stringent as I am.
Does this mean that I won’t be working out? By all means, no! I am in the business of training older adults on-line and I will continue to do that. Gyms are great if they can be accessed safely; that is all up to personal interpretation, but there is no way to make them risk-free. My decision is to keep fit at home and outside; it is the same decision that my clients have made.
I am not happy about having to cancel my membership. I hope that I can rejoin a gym when (if?) things ever get under control. In the meantime, I am not willing to risk my health to improve my health. That is the sad choice that we must all make today.