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The Exercise Community: How exercise has been shaped and developed by the Coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the shape of all communities over the course of six months. All non-essential businesses closed, including gyms, which largely impacted the exercise community. Many people make their New Year’s resolutions to go to the gym more often, get in shape, or just lead a healthier lifestyle. Gyms such as Lifetime Fitness and SoulCycle offer classes for people to go and exercise with a group. As people go to classes, they learn who is next to them in class and look forward to seeing each other in future classes.

The shutdown of gyms put an end to all these classes and left people without this community to go to the gym with. Many people shifted to working out with their families in their neighborhood or in their home created gyms. Exercise communities shifted from being those who you meet in the gym to those you live with. Another large fitness community that has been on the rise is groups formed through social media. Team leaders use social media to recruit team members to begin a workout and many times a nutrition program as well. These work out groups have formed their own community by using social media as a way to communicate with each other and complete exercises as a group. As COVID-19 continued, many people began to complete their exercises in groups around their community. They
walked outside, went to a local park, and hiked trails into mountains.

In a community in Spain, a trainer led workouts for people on their balconies from the rooftop of their apartment complex. Many gyms and trainers transitioned from in person classes to ones online via Zoom to serve their members so that they could still have some form of exercise and wellness programs from their own homes. Personal trainers were able to meet clients one on one in parks and outdoors while doing exercises that were focused on using your own body weight and practicing technique and form. Groups turned to walking or biking in their communities while maintaining social distancing which allowed them to continue encouraging each other and holding each other accountable for their
workouts.
As gyms and universities closed down, students and athletes also had their workout and exercise communities disrupted. Many students workout in groups with their friends or teammates while they’re at school, but having been sent home, they became unable to see each other and working out together became almost impossible. Students, specifically student athletes shifted their workouts to be all at home workouts that did not require the use of weights and other equipment. Coaches sent out workouts on an app for students to complete at home using household items to act as weights. This workout from home system let some people get their lives into shape while others choose not to complete the workouts, or did not have the motivation to without their community to encourage them and hold them accountable for showing up and pushing themselves to continue when things get hard.

As COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, more people are settling back into their old exercise routines, or taking the new routines they developed at home to the next level at gyms and inviting their friends to join them. New communities have formed, and others have begun to reconvene as gyms reopen and students return to their communities with universities and colleges reopening and athletics programs returning to working out with each other.

Sources: Insider

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