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Nation & World

Fitness enthusiasts think outside the gym during coronavirus

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Steve LaTart in Minnesota is thinking of installing a space heater in his basement to recreate the atmosphere of his hot yoga classes now that his gym has closed due to coronavirus fears.

LaTart’s says it’s part of the “new, weird, strange workout plan” he has devised during a nationwide trend of self-isolation and social distancing as the government recommends limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

Gyms, yoga studios and CrossFit centers around the country are fueling the drive to stay active by offering online classes, some free of charge, or extending trial periods for at-home workouts.

Studio owners and fitness instructors are having to adjust too as they make the shift to teaching online. The Coalition of Health and Fitness Leaders, a group of fitness, nutrition and wellness industry representatives recently formed in response to the new coronavirus, hosted an online panel Thursday to provide guidance for instructors.

Countless people around the country who have been cooped up inside as their companies mandate work-at-home policies and their fitness centers shut down are getting creative with their workout routines.

Many are turning to online classes, grabbing bleach bottles as makeshift weights, or taking cues from YouTube challenges showing how to do crunches with furniture or turn a kitchen floor into a treadmill by soaping up the tiling.

LaTart’s yoga and warrior sculpting instructors at Life Time Fitness in Minneapolis are still teaching classes. They’ve just moved them from the gym to cyberspace, where they are livestreaming instructions from their website. LaTart says knowing he can still participate in the classes is keeping him sane.

“I like the idea that this is something that’s normal,” the 38-year-old radio producer said. “This is someone I know. This is something that’s familiar.”

Beth Berglin, 40, director of a charity in Miami, was used to going to boot camp-style classes four mornings a week until last Thursday when she and her husband decided to stay at home as much as possible. Her gym closed over the weekend, but she is staying active through online classes from Burn Boot Camp.

In Fort Lauderdale, LA Fitness members were told not to return as they left the gym last Monday night. That scene has played out across the country as state governments have ramped up containment measures. Planet Fitness, Equinox and Life Time Fitness have all said they’re closing outlets for several weeks or indefinitely in response to the coronavirus.

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