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Active lifestyle can boost immune system

by Connor Vanderweyst
Staff Writer | June 28, 2020 9:31 PM

MOSES LAKE — Jose Zambrano, general manager at South Campus Athletic Club, has a simple adage he tells gym-goers.

“We always tell people the more active you stay the healthier you’ll be.”

In the age of coronavirus, an active lifestyle can be beneficial in staving off illness, just like social distancing and wearing masks. The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two; strength training twice a week is also recommended.

That amount can sound overwhelming to beginners. Recently, gyms have reopened in Grant and Adams counties, providing guidance to those out of practice with exercise.

“One of the things that we always suggest for anyone that’s never used the gym before is to get information on the machines they’re going to be using, either by asking one of the staff members or hiring a personal trainer, which is how most people get around the gym and gives them an introduction of the gym equipment and all that stuff,” Zambrano said.

Before gyms reopened, it was more difficult to conduct a vigorous workout, whether it was due to limited space or distractions at home. Some people, especially those who are high-risk, remain cautious when it comes to returning to the gym.

In that case, Anytime Fitness of Othello gym owner Janelle Andersen suggests getting outdoors, but still remaining cognizant of how much time is spent in the sun and avoiding peak hours to prevent burns.

“My biggest thing that I would tell them is to get outside because if you’re moving outside you’re getting the benefit of the vitamin D,” she said.

Those comfortable returning to the gym should ease back into routines, even gym veterans, Zambrano said.

“We just reopened back from being off for two months,” he said. “Even the people that have been using the gym for years, when they come back they make sure that they’re starting off slow, that they don’t over-push themselves for the first couple of weeks to prevent any injuries and stuff like that.”

Andersen has spent time researching how to reduce the severity of COVID-19 should one be infected. In a cleanlier, more sterile world, it comes down to strengthening the immune system.

“As a gym owner and as a person myself, I’ve dug deep into how can we reduce our COVID risk factors and potentially get a mildest case that we can and the thing that I kept coming up on was how strong is your immune system?” she said. “You strengthen your immune system through exercise so maybe that will counteract the more sterile world that we’re living in.”

Both Zambrano and Andersen said that their gyms are taking normal precautions, and more, to maintain state guidelines on social distancing and sanitation. Gyms, as opposed to other businesses, already stressed sanitation so the transition into a more diligent approach was simple.

“A lot of people have the misinformation of gyms being the area — because people sweat and because people are touching equipment — they’re more prone to getting a virus here, whether it’s a cold, the flu or even the coronavirus,” Zambrano said. “But in all honesty, most gyms, including ourselves, we are used to having a gym where we are always worrying about people catching the flu or catching the cold year round every year so we’re more prepared to sanitize equipment.”

“We’ve done it for years,” he added.