Avid exercisers happy to be back as fitness centres open up

Gyms opened back up to the public this week and although there are tight restrictions on how they’re run, regular gym goers were excited to get back at it.

Exercise facilities that have been closed in Saskatchewan since mid-March opened June 8

Chelsea Pitre says even though there are changes like the locker rooms being taped off, going back to the gym felt normal — and that's a feeling that's been missing from her life these past few months. (Submitted by Chelsea Pitre)

Gyms opened back up to the public this week, and although there are tight restrictions on how they're run, regular gym goers were excited to get back at.

Chelsea Pitre last went to the gym at the beginning of March and she was thrilled to be back this week. 

"The gym is important to me. I definitely use it ... not only as a health benefit but definitely for my mental health [and] as something to look forward to in the day."

The first thing she did was hit the treadmill.

"I made myself a commitment by my 44th birthday in four years that I want to run a marathon," Pitre said. "So that's where I want to be, is on the treadmill."

At her gym in Saskatoon, attendees have to fill out an online questionnaire every day — which asks if they're feel well or have been travelling, for example — and the completed questionnaire must be shown before entering.

There are hand sanitizing stations upon arrival, and the gym uses disposable paper towel to wipe things down instead of reusable rags. Plus, there was extra staff cleaning.

Listen to Chelsea Pitre, Travis Low, and Jess Buettner talk about returning to the gym on CBC's Saskatoon Morning.

Gyms have reopened in Saskatoon this week, in Phase 3 of the province's COVID plan. For avid gym-goers like Travis Low, Chelsea Pitre and Jessica Buettner, it's time for a good old-fashioned endorphine rush. CBC's Chelsea Laskowski brings you this piece. 6:08

Other than those changes to the routine, Pitre said it was almost a normal day at the gym, only quieter than usual. 

"It gave me a sense of, like, OK, the world is not ending. Everything is going to be OK. And it just gave me a sense of calm and consistency, I guess that I've kind of been lacking in the past few months."

She said the gym has always been an escape for her.

"It's that hour where you don't have to answer your phone. You don't have to parent, you don't have to work." 

'A really great community'

Travis Low was also excited to get back to the gym. He had been trying at-home workouts while gyms were closed but hadn't been successful, he said.

But more than that, he wanted to see his friends at Saskatoon's Freedom Functional Fitness again.

"It's got a really great community," he said. "And I was just so excited to actually see them in person and not having to just see through the lens of my computer."

It's that community that has kept him coming back to the gym on a regular basis.

Everything in the gym was sectioned off and labelled, with tape on the floor to show the path gym goers should walk through the space.

Freedom Functional Fitness in Saskatoon has taped off workout space and has hand sanitizer available. (Facebook/Freedom Functional Fitness)

He said it felt odd to not be using the entire space but he was grateful that the gym went to such lengths to ensure everyone felt safe.

His workout was more difficult than usual but he was glad to be back at it, he said.

"At the end of the day, when I feel that way, when I push myself to the limits that way, it releases these endorphins that are going to help me to reduce my anxiety and just, you know, kind of have my body feeling good again."

With files from Chelsea Laskowski


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