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Looming COVID Restrictions Have Many Minnesota Gyms On The Ropes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce that gyms in Minnesota will have to temporarily close to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Life Time's CEO Bahram Akradi defended gyms on Wednesday, saying they were not the cause of COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.

"We are here to provide the safe haven where you can have physical activity at the time your immune system is your best defense," Akradi said.

The locally-owned fitness studio Skybox Gym has been running virtual workouts since the spring shutdown, along with in-person classes that started back up again in June.

"We definitely feel more prepared this time," Skybox Gym owner Drew Coleman said.

Coleman, who wants to help flatten the curve, says they could probably survive on virtual workouts only for maybe three more months.

"It's been hard," he said. "We're doing the best we can to get over the hump here."

Lucy Gardiner, co-owner of Barre3 in Edina, said they will be offering more livestream virtual classes during the shutdown so customers get a more "real-life" experience.

Gardiner also said the virtual formats will likely continue at their studio and others even once COVID is under control.

Hennepin Healthcare psychologist Dr. Talee Vang says not having access to gyms during a cold wintry month means it's especially important to work activity into your day to ward off depression and weight gain. Twenty minutes, three times a week can improve your mood.

"There's a definite mental health concern," Vang said.

It's even better if you do an outdoor activity, which gives you the mental health benefit of being in nature.

"Going for a walk, sledding with the family, or if you're able to go snowboarding," Vang said.

Vang recommends finding a therapist that can also help through this difficult time.


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