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As a community, Coloradans have made great progress in tackling the pandemic with social distancing measures and vaccines being widely distributed; so much so that Colorado may be able to reach 70% immunity by August. Still, COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe rapidly. Not only is it important to get vaccinated, but it’s also important to take care of your mental and physical health so that we can transition back to normalcy as smoothly as possible.
Before my mother passed away from lung cancer in 2002, her and I were both addicted to nicotine. The loss of my mother compelled me to not only make smarter choices, but it also inspired me to help other families stay active and healthy. Exercise is proven to create physical and psychological benefits, especially helping reduce stress and anxiety, so in 2006, I started Mobile Fitness at Healthy Altitudes, which is a transportable fitness center here in Colorado. We work hard to give people access to not only personal training and fitness classes, but also motivational videos for how to stay motivated and positive during these times.
As a small business owner, I’ve seen firsthand how the pandemic has deteriorated our local small business economy. Roughly 53% of Colorado businesses expect economic fallout from the virus to last beyond 2021. As a health instructor, I’ve also noticed the way people have deprioritized their personal health. When gyms closed in 2020, not only did physical activity levels decrease by 48% in the U.S., but overall stress levels were the highest ever in comparison to previous years.
Early on, my own business’s revenue decreased by 45% in 2020, as many people did not have the opportunity to continue exercising like they used to because of social distancing, canceled events and no personal training courses. Our new movable studio was no longer being requested by clients for workouts and many no longer wanted to schedule classes due to fear of contracting the illness. Worried about these trends and knowing how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle, I turned to social media to reach out directly to my community and encourage them to stay optimistic.
I hired a Social Media Manager and began posting Facebook Live videos weekly to educate families on the importance of staying active. From posting workout videos, healthy food recommendations, to activities outside, I was able to stay connected to clients, both new and old, while the fitness center was no longer in use. Last year, many people did not have access to workout equipment, so I rented out my gym equipment to clients on Facebook Shops. Before the pandemic, my business was 90% in person and only 20% online. Today, 80% of Mobile Fitness at Healthy Altitude’s business is conducted on social media alone.
Turning to social media as my key source of clientele was an adjustment that ended up saving my business. But more importantly to me, social media connected me to the local community so I could spread my message of reprioritizing fitness and health. The pandemic and the safety measures implemented in its wake have changed how we conduct our daily lives. One constant, however, is that fitness and health must always remain a top priority. In fact, during these times, it’s even more important than before.
Today, vaccinations are more accessible here in Colorado than ever before, with individuals 12+ being eligible. We’re in the final stretch. Together, we can attempt to re-enter a society where people are living healthy, dealing with stress appropriately, and exercising consistently.
Gary Gianetti is wner and founder of Mobile Fitness at Healthy Altitudes.