Gym members brave outdoor heat to work out

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Flint-based Sal’s Gym is taking precautions as members work out in the heat. Pictured on July 6, 2020. (Photo credit: Ron Hilliard/Mid-Michigan NOW)

FLINT, Mich. - Some gyms are taking advantage of the opportunity to reopen for outdoor workouts, but they are working to cool off.

The heat wave, which has been responsible for temperatures in the 90s across Michigan, intensified this week as people continued toward their fitness goals.

Members of Sal’s Gym, located on University Avenue in Flint, were not letting the heat stop them from exercising; but “it’s hot,” said Jess Duncan, a member and coach. “So, it’s just a matter of drinking lots of water and pacing yourself.”

Duncan said while it was important to work out, she was making sure not to overdo it.

“You know, listening to your body and keeping in mind that it’s 95 degrees out, and that you’re just not going to be able to move like you usually can.”

Sal’s Gym owner and trainer Jacob Saldaña said the precautions meant taking more breaks and more reminders to drink water.

“It’s definitely an adjustment, but our attendance is through the roof,” he said.

He said membership has grown since reopening last month when the state eased restricted to allow gyms to conduct outdoor fitness training.

“So, we put everybody outside,” said Saldaña. “They bring their water. They make sure they have their water and they pretty much fight over the shade.”

He said with precaution, the weather has some benefits.

“Sunlight exposure is really important for Vitamin D, and it’s just really good for mental health. Something about sweating with other people tends to make them more vibrant.”

It is something that Duncan said she knew firsthand.

“Having fun with people at a reasonable distance and still being able to joke around, come out, get that sweat going, and then you just feel better the rest of the day,” she said. “It improves your attitude and mood.”

In addition to protecting from the heat, Saldaña said the membership was protecting amid the pandemic. He said they are social distancing and sanitizing their hands and equipment regularly.