Getting to the Gym: Keeping My Mind, Body and Spirit Healthy
Nikki and her family have been YWCA Minneapolis fitness members for almost six years. In this Q&A, she talks about what inspires her to come into YWCA Midtown twice a day and her experience being back at the gym since COVID-19 hit.
Why did you first join YWCA Minneapolis?
My family and I first joined YWCA Minneapolis when we moved to Minnesota. It was our first winter here after living on the West coast, and an acquaintance recommended the leisure pool as a great place to hang out as a family and ease the shock of the weather. We came to check out the pool in the middle of January 2015 and signed up that day. We have been members ever since.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
COVID-19 has been really tough for our family, which I am sure is true for most people. My partner and I transitioned to working from home, along with our first-grade daughter. The house started feeling really cramped pretty quickly. When the gym closed I was sad to hear it but understood it was the smartest, safest thing to do. Fortunately, we live two blocks from Powderhorn Park, so we were able to take multiple walks and ride bikes every day. Getting out of the house and into the fresh air to move our bodies became an extremely important part of the way we were taking care of ourselves to de-stress, stay active and not drive each other crazy.
What has your experience been like visiting the fitness centers since we’ve reopened?
I was ecstatic when the gym reopened, especially because I am a swimmer and I missed the lap pool. My first day back, I was very impressed with the precautions and thoughtfulness that was put into reopening. The mask requirement, the flow of member traffic, the plexiglass partitions, cleaning protocols, distance between machines on the fitness floor, and clearly marked capacity signs helped me feel safe and confident that YWCA cares about its members and staff. I find the reservation system easy to navigate with plenty of available slots so I am able to swim and work out when I want. The staff is very warm and welcoming, and seem genuinely happy to be back as well.
“My first day back, I was very impressed with the precautions and thoughtfulness that was put into reopening.”
What is your favorite part of coming to the gym?
I love coming to the gym twice a day during my breaks from working at home. Other than weekly trips to the grocery store, YWCA Midtown is the only place I get to go and has become a vital part of my day. I stay sane by swimming laps in the pool and using that time for moving meditation in the water, and I stay strong by lifting weights on the fitness floor. I especially love seeing other ladies taking care of themselves and working out in the gym. I feel a real sense of community and shared experience by seeing some of the same staff and members every day.
“I feel a real sense of community and shared experience by seeing some of the same staff and members every day.”
Do you have any advice for other members who are trying to decide when/if to come back?
If there are any members considering whether or not to come back I would recommend coming in for a visit to put your concerns at ease. As long as we all stay vigilant and follow the rules that are in place, I think we can all stay safe. (It’s all a calculated risk, right?) Minnesota winters are cold and long, and getting yourself to the gym to work out can help keep your body, mind and spirits healthy. A dip in the heated pool or a brisk walk on the track while it’s cold and icy outside might be just what you need to make it through this crazy time.
“Minnesota winters are cold and long, and getting yourself to the gym to work out can help keep your body, mind and spirits healthy.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
The mission of YWCA and the work the organization does in our community makes me feel great about my choice to be a member. I have volunteered for several events and appreciate the opportunities available to give back to the community, working alongside other people interested in supporting the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.