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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Empty gyms and fitness centers have become the new norm across Northeast Ohio as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the country. Now, more than ever staying in shape and staying fit is essential.

“Exercise is not just for physical maintenance. There is a mental component to,” said Erin Valenti, Owner and Trainer at Blind Dog Gym in Lorain. 

Gym owners are getting creative in these difficult times to help their patrons stay in shape.  Valenti’s gym is allowing their guests to borrow equipment like kettlebells, all in an effort to keep those workouts going strong.

“It’s essential because there are only so many pushups and air squats that you can do. And running for some of us is not our favorite thing to do,” said Blind Dog Gym patron Kristen Parker.

Gina Imbrigiotta, owner of Brecksville Fitness Studio in Brecksville, is recording home workout videos and sharing them with clients.  It’s one way for those stuck at home to stay in shape.  

“Giving yourself that time to take care of yourself is going to make a world of difference for when we go back to our normal lives. We will feel stronger than ever,” Imbrigiotta said.

Staying in shape and staying fit doesn’t mean you have to have weights to make it happen.

“Go up and down the steps. Run in place. Do lunges. My favorite thing to do is to mix a little strength with a little cardio,” said Imbrigiotta. “Tricep dips on your steps or sit-ups before you go to bed, anything like that adds up.”

 It’s hard to use time as an excuse, with more free time than ever, a simple walk will go a long way.

“When we do come out of this we can come back stronger than ever,” Imbrigiotta said.