Local YMCA sees steady crowds despite pandemic

The pandemic has had an effect on attendance at the YMCA, but not in the way many might think.

Posted: Jan 7, 2021 12:02 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Staff at the local YMCA said the pandemic has had an effect on attendance, but what they didn’t know was that it would lead to more traffic.

"People are feeling more comfortable about coming back," Helen Caton, YMCA said. "They know the importance of living that healthy lifestyle."

In this time of social distancing, YMCA staff said more people are sticking to their gym routines.

Caton said she usually sees peek attendance at the gym in February, but now classes are filling up a month in advance.

"We’re pleased," she said. "If we saw some full classes last week, we’re hopeful for what the next several months are going to bring."

For longtime members of the Y such as John Butts who said he stuck with his routine through the pandemic, it was important to stay on track.

"I knew if I stopped, I'd get back into my old routine of being lazy," Butts said. "I ran 3 times a week and did calisthenics just to keep my body going and the juices flowing."

Y staff said, being in a public environment encourages better workouts, they remain focused on safety.

"We’ve done a lot of things to ensure safety being here with our disinfecting protocol, and spacing." Caton said. 

Not everyone who wants to work out is leaving their homes, the YMCA is rolling out new programs for people to keep moving no matter where they are.

"We are exploring virtual fitness classes to give access to different types of classes to the members and they can stream them at home." Caton said.

Caton admitted that many might have let Covid-19 push their fitness goals on the sidelines, for those looking to start up again soon she shared the following advice.

"Start it easy and get back into those habits," She said  "We want you to be sticking around for a while."

Caton said the extra stress many are feeling because of the pandemic is making exercise a bigger priority for many. 

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