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Fitness activities go outdoors in the COVID era

What do fitness classes, yoga and CrossFit have in common? These are three physical activities that normally take place in gyms or other dedicated sports facilities but can also be practiced outside. And that is increasingly the case, since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures being implemented almost everywhere in the world.

While gyms have been reopening in the U.K., parts of Asia, Australia, the U.S. and Canada over the last month, the threat of a surging number of cases combined with fine summer weather in the northern hemisphere means that outdoor fitness practices are on the rise. Taking one’s fitness practice outside also means that the issue of masks can also, at least sometimes, be avoided.

yoga, fitness
What do yoga, crossfit and fitness classes have in common? They can all be practiced outdoors. Image: da-kuk/Istock.com

Here are three on-trend physical activities that lend themselves to being done outside.


For several years now, it’s been relatively easy to find yoga courses offered in an outdoor setting: on the beach, beside a lake, in the midst of the forest… Given that the distance required between students in a traditional yoga studio might make class sizes extremely small, outdoor yoga could have a very bright future in the months ahead. And what could be better than meditating and stretching in front of a beautiful landscape?


When lockdown restrictions started to be relaxed in various areas, many fitness centers began offering CrossFit sessions in outdoor settings. Mats are spread out in the fresh air and the specialized equipment is transported for the duration of a session. In Quebec, Canada, Tonic Crossfit studio reopened and decided to exclusively offer courses outdoors, without any sharing of equipment and with a regulatory distance between participants.


Along the same lines as CrossFit, fitness classes of all kinds are increasingly being set up outside. It’s a strategy that coaches and fitness facilities have been putting into place in recent months; for instance boot-camp style sessions, Zumba classes, HIIT sessions, core training, pop-up Barre classes and even no-hit boxing seances are taking place in parks, parking lots, courtyards, on rooftops, beaches, patios and more.

In some countries including the United States, many experts are even strongly recommending that fitness classes take place in the open air, as it’s more suited to social distancing and measures that can reduce the risks of virus transmission.

So will this trend for outdoor fitness last after the COVID era? NVG


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