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How local gyms are handling COVID-19 and other tips for staying fit

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BECKLEY W. VA. (WVVA) - The New Year is a time when many people set resolutions, which often consist of joining a gym or getting in shape.

Local gyms had the challenge of bracing for increased crowds while following COVID-19 guidelines.

Around the New Year, the number of people signing up for gym memberships usually increases significantly.

According to Ryan Gilkerson, the membership and wellness director at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, said membership numbers are down slightly, likely due to the ongoing pandemic.

"There's still people out there that are a little leary, rightfully so, about the the pandemic, so we have seen an uptick in our memberships but it hasn't been as great as years past for sure," said Gilkerson.

Going to the gym is not the only way to get into shape.

Sherry Sanchez, the office manager, LPN, and Wellness Consultant at InShape WV, said there are other options for people who would like to get into shape.

"They can start watching their calorie in take, they can lower their sugar [and] their carb intake," said Sanchez. "They could go walk outside, they could even download some free apps from the internet."

If you choose to join a local gym like the YMCA, there are safety measures in place, including mask requirements and temperature checks.

Gilkerson said that their biggest safety measure is disinfecting and taking steps toward contact tracing.

"[We're] cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, it's all hands on deck with the cleaning, everybody from directors to our maintenance crew constantly wiping stuff down for folks," said Gilkerson. "We're also updating our membership addresses with our current members and stuff just fir the tracing and we're just trying to be as proactive as possible."

Gilkerson said, whether people decide to join a gym or not, being healthy and making the right decisions to accomplish those goals is what's most important.

He adds, gyms all across the region are taking safety steps to keep everyone joining this season, healthy.

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Maria Sellers

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