Combating COVID-19 with Exercise

Courtesy YMCA of Austin

This time of year gyms and exercise studios are normally packed with people trying to make good on their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy. But with Austin-Travis County entering Stage 5 in the Risk-Based Guidelines, many are reluctant to exercise indoors.

While concerns about transmission of COVID-19 in closed indoor spaces like YMCA of Austin facilities are valid, a significant body of research shows that regular exercise provides an immunity boost that helps fight off illness. In addition to improving your mental health, a 2019 scientific review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk, and reduce inflammation. For these reasons, many find the benefits of exercising in a welcoming community of friends outweighs the risks.

The YMCA of Austin is working to reduce those risks and offers the following tips for choosing a safe indoor exercise facility: 

  1. Keep Your Distance – Whether you’re looking for a treadmill, a weight bench or group exercise class, look for an option that allows you to maintain six feet of distance or more from other participants
  2. Make a Splash – Look for water-exercise options such as water aerobics, lap swimming or water running. According to the CDC, the coronavirus is neutralized in chlorinated water.
  3. Get Outside – Many facilities are offering outdoor exercise classes such as boot camp, spinning or yoga in the green spaces or parking lots adjacent to their buildings.
  4. Wipe it Down – Many facilities offer visitors the use of their own spray bottle of disinfectant to clean exercise equipment before using it. Wiping down surfaces before and after offers an extra measure of protection.
  5. Mask Up – Wearing a mask during exercise is a matter of debate, but face coverings are perfectly comfortable for low- and moderate-intensity workouts such as yoga, pilates or weight lifting.

RESET in 2022

Are you looking for an opportunity to make good on your resolutions? Are you ready to build stronger healthier habits in 2022? The Y is launching a FREE 3-week lifestyle challenge beginning February 7th for all community members – that’s right, you don’t have to be a Y member to participate! 

The RESET Challenge focuses on improving your overall wellbeing in spirit, mind, and body while having fun! We won’t focus entirely on physical health with a series of fitness challenges – that’s just a component of it. We’ll have plenty of opportunities for individuals and families to participate alike. Best of all, we have a virtual community to help keep you inspired and motivated along the way. 

Three weeks. 10,000 teammates. For 30 minutes a day, five days a week, we’ll provide tools to help you build healthier habits. The challenge begins February 7th. You’ll get information via text and email each week, and your nearest YMCA branch will have special options designed to help you discover a new way to get healthy in the new year. 

Take the challenge, have some fun, and RESET your world in 2022. Text RESET to 844-889-622 to sign up!

Membership for All

For many Austin-area residents facing financial struggles or unemployment related to the pandemic, finding a way to afford health and wellness activities on a limited budget poses a real obstacle. The RESET Challenge gives people a chance to visit the Y and learn more about our Membership for All program, which provides reduced rates based on your household income. Everyone is welcome at the Y.

The YMCA of Austin offers a variety of ways for individuals and families to come together and spend quality time at eight area centers in Travis and Hays Counties. For more information visit,

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