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Ester Marsh column: Fitness etiquette 101

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas holiday! With the new year just a few days away, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go over the fitness “etiquettes” but now more than ever we need a refresher and a couple of good chuckles. I hope most of you are ready to come back and exercise but especially exercise in general. As I mentioned last week, start slowly and stay regular. Alright here it goes:

  • Wear a mask, even while exercising. We all want the world to open back up, but it takes all of us to get there. If your workout is too strenuous with a mask, take the intensity down a notch or exercise outside. The Y has a fenced-in back area with a track.
  • Clean up after yourself. You should do this anyway but now it’s a must. We have cleaning stations spread everywhere.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and clothes that keep body parts where they should stay.
  • Wash your clothes after each workout. Even if you just exercised an hour and you let them air dry, we can still smell you.
  • When using equipment such as dumbbells and plates, please put them back where you got them. If they were at the wrong place when you got them, it’s very much appreciated if you put them back where they actually belong.
  • When getting rid of your gum please use the trash cans, not benches, treadmills, windowsills or mirrors.
  • Respect each other’s space. Again, this is a must during COVID-19, but even when things go back to whatever normal we will have, give people space to work out.
  • Not everyone wants to talk while they are working out (I am one of them). Be kind and converse if you like, but if they do not speak back, chances are they don’t want to talk. And remember, quality over quantity.
  • Do not hog a machine. Doing two sets of 500 crunches is not getting rid of your belly. Any time you see people waiting on what you are doing, acknowledge them and let them know how much longer you have. Shorten the time when needed.
  • And finally, be respectful, kind, understanding and patient. Everyone thinks, feels and acts different. That makes us unique. If we can work hard on being kind to each other, can you imagine what beautiful world we could live in?

Happy almost new year, and to all a healthy new year.

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.

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