New Yorkers hit gyms to shed pandemic pounds

File: A person standing on a scale for a weight reading. Unsplash/yunmai

NEW YORK - As fitness-conscious New York emerges from the pandemic, many residents are hitting the gym to get back in shape, but without putting too much pressure on themselves after the psychological stresses of the past 15 months.

Health journals and articles have indeed talked about "Quarantine 15" -- unwanted extra pounds gained from the upheaval of our daily routines, including lack of activities and emotional eating caused by the anxiety of the pandemic.

About 42 percent of American adults said they had gained more weight than they intended -- an average of 29 pounds -- during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association.

TS Fitness founder Noam Tamir says his studio has seen attendance increase significantly in recent weeks.

"With summer coming, being outside more, not fitting into the clothes they used to and obviously revealing more of their body, they want to get into a fitness routine," he said.

The studio has offered Zoom classes throughout the pandemic but people "crave that human-to-human contact," Tamir added.

Many specialists warn against stigmatising weight gain, particularly at a time when people are still feeling extremely fragile psychologically.

"The very last thing we need right now is a diet," warned author Virginia Sole-Smith in her Burnt Toast newsletter.

"It's so much more important to have compassion for everything your body has gone through in the past year. And maybe even pride, for everything your body has helped you survive," she added.


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