BRAD ROBICHAUX — Area gyms, health clubs offer healthy ways to work off COVID-19 stress

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Are you stressed? It’s a pretty stressful time right now.

At this time, it’s also a little harder to manage that stress in healthy ways since places like gyms are closing in response to government orders and to help avoid spreading COVID-19. That shouldn’t mean we should binge-eat ice cream and binge-watch TV — or at least those things shouldn’t be the only things we do.

Most lists of stress relief tips includes staying active as one of the suggestions. This can mean everything from doing housework or yard work to going for a walk around the neighborhood. During the quarantines, it can also mean getting a quality exercise session from area gyms streamed online.

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Exygon Health and Fitness Club shut its doors on Friday but didn’t stop the workouts. Every day at 8 a.m., Exygon’s Facebook page has posted a new workout routine with demonstration videos that can be done anywhere, including at home.

On Monday, Exygon shared a video from Gail Pickens-Barger, who teaches the “Get Fit Where You Sit” class on chair yoga. The exercises are designed so even older exercisers can safely give them a try.

Fit Body Boot Camp in Nederland likewise closed but is offering a 28-day “Stronger Together at Home Challenge.” The private group includes live coaching sessions and nutrition coaching for $28.

Powerhouse Gym in Port Neches hosts multiple home workouts and remote classes including sessions on CrossFit and strength training.

You can also follow the example of the Port Neches-Groves girls soccer players and take on their #tpchallenge by attempting to juggle a roll of toilet paper on the end of the foot for as long as possible. Post a video online of your best attempt. Even if you don’t do as well as the soccer players, the challenge may take your mind off of the quarantine for a while.

Neighborhood streets might also start to become more inviting as the weather warms. If possible, a walk around the block is as simple as it gets when it comes to exercise and stress relief. Take the necessary precautions, though. Keep a safe distance away from others outside and avoid walking in places you aren’t familiar with or feel safe in.

There are lots of other options. If you’re up for it, find tips online and give meditation a try. WebMD also lists “laugh out loud” among it’s tips for relieving stress, as a hearty laugh can lower cortisol levels and boost endorphins.

We’ll get through this in a healthier way by keeping ourselves calm and stress-free. I say this for myself as much as for the readers, since many of these things I’ve talked about are things that would be good for me to do, too.

I’ve sometimes found it easier to make attempts at establishing good habits during moments of major change, like moving to someplace new or starting a new job or school. The shake-up provides a great excuse to figure out new and better routines, and you might not have the option to go back to old habits. You can’t continue eating too many doughnuts every morning at the office if you find yourself suddenly stuck at home in quarantine.

We can all stand to do better at being healthy. The coronavirus has done, and may yet do, more damage. We can try to get at least something positive out of it.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at