Kyle Hooker

Kyle Hooker, exercise physiologist at Sedro-Woolley's United Fitness Center, demonstrates an exercise on a trail using water bottles as resistance.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Staying away from the gym, even as a health precaution to avoid contact with a deadly virus, comes with a cost if there is no replacement exercise.

That's why some gyms, like United Fitness Center, have worked to keep clients moving.

United Fitness Center tends to cater to a slightly older crowd. Manager Mark Pearson and his staff quickly instituted a plan to meet their clientele's needs during this time and now provide members with workout options on videos and via printouts.

"Our videos take into account things they can use around their home," Pearson said. "We use soup cans and water bottles for strength training."

The center's workouts and exercise tips can be accessed at fitness.unitedgeneral.org.

The effort has kept some senior members engaged, like Cyndi Sorestad of Sedro-Woolley.

"I'm 68 years old, and I've been a member of several gyms," she said. "This gym really fit my needs, and that continues during this time. It focuses on that strength, stretch and balance that, at my age, is so important."

Exercise physiologist Kyle Hooker and his wife Elizabeth took to a local trail for a video that shows some exercises that could be done along the path, such as squats or walking toe-to-toe for balance.

"It's just fun things you can do like that just to shake up your ordinary walk in a fun way," Sorestad said.

Pearson said he has sent weekly e-mails to about 500 members, of which about 80% are seniors.

"Every week we do a handout so they can print that out or look at it online. We also send out a video as well so they can look at that," he said.

"We talk about the importance of such things as balance, which is important for seniors. Our yoga program focuses on strengthening your core as well as touching on the mental aspects of all this, such as breathing and managing your stress during this time."

It's a win-win for those seniors taking advantage of the opportunity to stay sharp mentally while continuing to improve physically, Sorestad said.

"I am doing the same types of things at home that I did there," she said. 

It's important to keep moving, Sorestad said.

"We all know how quickly we lose that strength, and we lose that core and we lose that balance," she said. "And if we were out, say two months, it would be bad."

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