Bad air quality adds to challenges of exercising during a pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Staying active has never been more of a challenge than right now.

COVID-19 restrictions have shut down most gyms and fitness centers, while the Valley's poor air quality is keeping most of us indoors and couch-locked.

"I need to work out to maintain a schedule," said Hunter Walker of Fresno, and many feel the same way. In fact, exercise has been proven to be a mood-booster and can help reduce stress levels

"With quarantine, you see all the Tik Toks and things like that of people not working out not doing anything and they get depressed. That's worse than breathing some smoggy air you know," Hunter said.

While air quality warnings have kept most bike trails and parks empty these days, fitness junkies say it won't stop them from finding ways to stay active outdoors

Management at the Crunch Fitness Center on Shaw in Clovis says business is booming after deciding to reopen in the parking lot adjacent to its building.

It's one of the few gyms in the area that has welcomed back its members outdoors, and this week's hazy layer of smoke from wildfires is not enough to stop die-hards from pumping some iron.

"Coming out to workout is kind of like a source of mental wellness, mental well being and being around people working out. It kind of gives them an avenue to get extra energy out that they normally wouldn't get. And after being cooped up for the last few months people are just over it and they want to come out and do something," said Mehread Moatemer.

Experts recommend if the air looks dirty or you can smell smoke, take your workout indoors where the air is filtered.
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