Staying in shape during coronavirus

A couple days ago, Clayton Rosen went out for a spin on his bicycle.

The 44-year-old Rosen, a personal trainer who says he has been in the gym since he was 13 years old, took an impromptu tour around part of the Capital Region landscape, looking for people getting some exercise


He was overjoyed at what he found. Plenty of folks out for a walk. Others were like him, out for a bike ride.

“People were everywhere,” said Rosen, who has been a personal trainer the last eight year at the Albany Jewish Community Center. “They were getting exercise and that was good to see.”

The coronavirus pandemic has put the clamps down on just about all the simple pleasures Americans took for granted just a week ago. One of the recent announcements aimed at slowing the virus was that gyms used by thousands, if not millions, of people were also going to have their doors locked to the public. The virus, which has wreaked havoc on everyone’s personal and professional lives, had robbed Americans of the opportunity to work out.

“I knew this was coming, but, oh, boy, I probably said a few choice words,” said Toni Howard, who has been a personal trainer at ABC Sports & Fitness in Latham for 28 years. “I knew I had to stay focused and creative and figure out how to help.”

With the majority of people adhering to the government’s plea of social distancing and staying home, it also left those who have exercise in their daily routine with a big void. Those in the business are there for their clients, and those who are not.

What are people supposed to do to compensate for the lack of a trip to the gym for time with weights, a spin class or a stair master?

“I’ve been answering this to a lot of my clients,” Rosen, who said he works individually with between 25 and 35 people, said. “People are in a lifestyle that, all of a sudden, stops.”

Just because the gyms are closed for the time being doesn’t mean that you can’t get exercise. It is no problem for people who have an exercise bike at home. Or some weights. If you don’t, you can still make do.

Have a big dictionary in the house? How about a bulky, old encyclopedia? They can become makeshift weights. So can a five gallon jug of water. That weighs about 41 pounds. Presto. Weight workout.

Rosen said it is also easy for homebound people to do what people did years ago when there was no equipment: push-ups, chin-ups and sit-ups.

“People should just create a routine,” he said. “If you are doing something, it’s better than doing nothing.”

And, perhaps the simplest and easiest exercise of all time is at play here. Walking. No equipment needed.

“My dad is in his 70s and he has been going to the gym every day for most of his life,” said Melissa Stankovich, a personal trainer for a dozen years who has her own website, fit4youcoaching.net. “Now, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s pretty simple to just walk up and down the stairs. You can take your laundry up stairs. It gets the heart rate going. It counts.”

Stankovich said she and her husband go for walks and it’s not only good for the body.

“Getting a breath of fresh air will do the mind and body good,” she said. “And you can always go out for a run.”

Will Yund, 41, is the owner of Fusion Personal Training in Malta. With his gym closed, he has taken to putting live workouts — for free — on Fusion’s Facebook page. They last about a half hour and focus on different parts of the body. And they stay on the page if you want to do it again. Other personal trainers have done the same.

“It seems to be gathering tremendous response,” Yund said. “I am happy to it. We are all in this together. It is an effective workout. You don’t need any equipment. You can do it on your carpet.”

Yund said some of his live streams have received up to 500 views.

“It’s very important to keep some normalcy in your life,” said Yund, who has been training for 10 years. “Exercise is so huge for your immune system but it also helps with stress and anxiety. We all should try to stay as active as possible. Sitting around and doing nothing is not going to do anyone any good.”

Howard has also put up workouts on her social media outlets and said another ABC training colleague, Tiffany Tatlock, is joining her, talking about nutrition. Stankovich is putting written workouts on social media too.

“Isolation has been really difficult for some of our members,” Howard said.”We are just trying to help people stay somewhat connected.”

twilkin@timesunion.com • 518-454-5415 • @tjwilkin


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