Gyms Adapt Amid Pandemic With Outdoor Training Terraces, Tents

A growing number of gyms are adding outdoor amenities such as terraces and tents as Americans try to safely get active again

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Gym goers in Arlington, Virginia, will soon take spin classes on an open air training terrace instead of peddling away indoors. 

Gold’s Gym will open a turf-covered outdoor promenade for classes and training sessions at a new location that’s set to open over the Rosslyn Metro station in early 2021. Renderings of the 1,400-square-foot terrace show space to use battle ropes and kettlebells. 

A growing number of gyms are adding outdoor amenities such as terraces and tents as Americans try to safely get active again as the coronavirus pandemic continues. 

Photos: Gyms Open Outdoor Spaces as COVID-19 Pandemic Stretches On

Creating outdoor space helps gym members return to their workouts, said Brooke Daniels, the fitness director for Gold’s Gym DC.

“They really want to just get back to their routine and provide some sense of normalcy. If we can do that by offering outdoor space, we’re going to do that,” she said. 

Gold’s Gym locations in California, New York and North Carolina added outdoor space this year while indoor facilities were closed. In Southern California, one side of a building became a huge space to use weights and punching bags. In Poughkeepsie, a portion of a parking lot became room for exercise machines, shielded by a tent. 

In Orange County, California, Monarch Beach Resort moved its entire gym outdoors. As many as 40 people can spread out on the 4,500-square-foot Athletic Club Pavilion. Classes including Seaside Singing Bowls Meditation and Coastal Barre Without the Barre are held outdoors in the ocean breeze, management said in a statement. 

Equinox and SoulCycle also turned to outdoor workouts in various locations. Time lapse video from earlier this month shows the setup of an all-outdoor Equinox gym in Los Angeles, with turf and tents on a rooftop.

The pandemic has forced gyms to close locations, file for bankruptcy and seek new ways to attract customers. Town Sports International, Flywheel Sports and 24 Hour Fitness all filed for bankruptcy after facilities were closed for months. Yoga studios and other boutique fitness businesses have closed entirely or moved classes online.

News4's Tommy McFly reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that gym goers seek facilities with outdoor space, limit attendance at indoor training sessions and wear face coverings. You’re advised to stay six feet apart from others, sanitize shared equipment and skip high-fives. 

If you’re getting less exercise as the pandemic continues to change daily life, you’re not alone. Thirty-eight percent of Americans who participated in a Gallup poll early in the pandemic said they were getting less exercise. 

To get back on track, start small and set goals, said Matt Clifford, managing partner of Gold’s Gym DC. 

“Carve out a little time and just get started,” he said. 

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