LETTER: Reopen fitness facilities – Nelson Star

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For two years, the fitness industry has been villainized as a source of significant impact in the pandemic- without supporting evidence.

Despite ongoing FOI requests, the province fails to provide data proving the industry at the root of outbreaks. Studios have obliged every mandate, at great financial loss. We have reduced class capacities. Kept records for contact tracing. Increased cleaning protocols. Imposed vaccine mandates.

For two years, this industry has followed the rules, not without questioning but with hope.

These actions are not hopeful. They are not logical. They are negatively impacting the financial stability of owners and staff, and the physical and mental health of the community.

Our leaders are sending a clear message: our physical and mental health is not a priority.

This needs to change.

Science tells us that exercise improves mental health and improves our immune response.

According to a paper published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine on July 29, 2020, “The immune response to the [COVID 19] virus depends on factors such as genetics, age and physical state, and its main input receptor is the angiotensin-converting enzyme. The practice of physical exercise [… ] has an effect on the lower incidence, intensity of symptoms and mortality in viral infections observed in people who practice physical activity regularly.”

A better immune response equals the increased ability to fight viruses, which in turn equals reduced pressure on the healthcare system.

Shutting down fitness facilities is doing more harm than good. Barring access to facilities that make our society healthier increases the risk of physical and mental illness.

We are not asking for hand-outs or funding; we are demanding the province allow all fitness facilities to reopen and stay open.

It’s time to prioritize health and wellness. It’s time to deem the fitness sector the essential service that it truly is.

Melissa Armstrong

Nelson

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