The start of a new year has traditionally been the time when many of us make resolutions to improve our health. Part of the plan could be improving fitness through more exercise or exercise. There has never been a more important year than 2021 for a new beginning for better health.

With many people restless after almost a year of COVID-19 restrictions, there is a drive to improve health to fight the virus, or perhaps return to the higher levels of fitness we experienced when we were able to exercise more freely in the gym . But the virus continues to be a threat and many people do not feel comfortable returning to classes or exercise rooms.

A few gyms, fitness centers, yoga and martial arts studios are in operation in the city. You need to get permission to open and then work at a reduced capacity. You must follow COVID-safe retail practices and strict protocols for cleaning and disinfecting equipment and locker rooms.

While these companies are open to a limited number of customers, those who prefer to train at home are exploring online and other options. The Taos News spoke to local fitness and physical therapy experts to learn how to stay fit at home this winter.

New year better health program

Julia Fernandez De Maez is the owner and operator of The Body Shop, which she opened in 2017. She is passionate about bringing health to her community. As a fifth generation Taoseña, she committed to offering programs that are healthy in an accessible and affordable way. “The people who are sick, die and lose their businesses are my uncles, aunts and grandparents,” said Fernandez De Maez. “I am determined to give back to the community in order to be healthy and I have a special focus on health care providers.”

Since January, it has been offering free online programs to every local with a Wi-Fi connection. Almost 200 people have joined the program. Although there is only a short time left in the free month, Taos residents can connect with her on Facebook to log in, get a taste of the programming, and decide if they want to continue with $ 30 per month . The unlimited fitness training includes classes, on-demand coaching, and access to weekly meal plans.

Fernandez De Maez, Victoria Carballo, Co-Founder and Instructor at The Body Shop, and Kristen Rivera offer approximately 30-minute fitness sessions that can be done at home with no or minimal equipment.

“I want the program to be meaningful to the community. It can be shared with other household members, and there are special programs for children. Wellness shouldn’t be out of reach for someone willing to make a positive change in their environment. ” is alive, “said Fernandez De Maez. Participants can view the sessions live or later, as well as comment and ask questions.

She has also partnered with Holy Cross Medical Center to provide free access to everyone there for the first quarter of the year, and has been tasked with Taos County to provide free online access to its employees through 2021.

“We have all turned our lives upside down,” said Fernandez De Maez. “We have lost loved ones and jobs and cannot see our friends. We suffer from a lack of connection and health. In the Body Shop we provide knowledge on how to combat health loss with information on how we can exercise yourself and how to eat well. Me think we go way beyond what is fair and right. “

She points out that the media often seem to focus on the number of COVID cases and deaths, with no counter-information on how to fight the virus by strengthening your body and immune system.

The Body Shop also has a limited number of training groups for small groups. When people are slowly returning to the gym, they want to stay safe. There are only five people total in each workout pod, including the instructor, and the gym is sanitized between pods.

“We plan the pods by reservation so we can keep the group small and not have to turn anyone away. Social distancing is the main reason for the small groups. We wear masks and check the temperatures. People appreciate the care we have taken. We didn’t get any complaints, “said Fernandez De Maez. To motivate the pod groups, The Body Shop is offering prices at the end of the month for the groups that have worked the hardest.

At Taos Physical Therapy, staff help people recover from injuries and surgery, and offer other forms of rehab and testing for staff. Since the pandemic began, their Sipapu Street location has implemented a number of steps to protect itself from exposure to COVID. “Everyone who enters the clinic is examined: we start with body temperature and wash our hands as we enter. Then we look for symptoms with general questions,” said owners Alicia Esparza MPT and Katie Lund PTA. “Everyone wears masks, both staff and patients, and we work to keep the optimal distance between others in the clinic. We have separate rooms for more private treatment options. The first and last appointments of the day have the least amount of transitional contact with others.”

For people who are unable or not comfortable to come to the place in person. Taos physiotherapy offers a telemedicine option which, according to the staff, has worked very well, especially for motivated people.

When asked for advice on how to further relax or stay fit at home, the therapists say, “Establish a routine and dedicate a certain amount of time each day to exercise / meditation / deep breathing. Sometimes this is scheduled Exercise should be completed in the morning it is out of the way and provide aftercare rather than delving into the day and stopping the exercise. Set a timer for meditation / breathing and general exercise. “

Taos Physical Therapy Facebook Pages have links to short videos that provide solutions to problems such as neck stress and suggestions on breathing and stretching. Esparza and Lund say they noticed COVID-related issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, and decreased exercise and increased sitting or standing in front of computer screens. As a result, you may experience problems such as lower back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and other symptoms. In addition to breathing, stretching and moving, they remind us to get some fresh air. “We want to encourage people to go outside while it is safe,” said the therapists.

Fernandez De Maez realized how many people had lost their jobs in the last year and opened a second store in 2020. She offers a fitness apparel line called Ziafit Activewear and is looking for people to help sell it online. “I received 65 applications in one day,” she said. “Many of the respondents are women who are single parents or live in households where their partner has lost a job. We want to help people make extra money and are offering a 50 percent commission on online sales. In Taos we are sick. We are sick and tired of being broke. More and more people are feeling the pressure. We want to help them move and feel inspired again. This is our way of sending light to the community. “

If you have not been active recently, consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Whether you choose an online option, an app on your phone or a smartwatch, or just go outside for a walk, every small step can begin the path to better health.