Group Exercise- What’s a Gym Rat to Do Now?

Almost everything about our daily lives has changed this spring. As we tentatively begin to resume our some of our routine, what’s the latest with exercising in groups and what’s a gym rat to do?

The Good and the Bad Data suggests working out with others increases camaraderie, motivation, achievement of goals, and consistency. But in the days of Covid -19, it’s not always safe to exercise in groups.

In a recent New York Times article, we read that 112 Covid – 19 cases in South Korea were traced back to a single Zumba instructor training class. After the one-day class, 8 of the 27 new instructors in attendance tested positive. The following week, they led classes described by one Sparkpeople writer as a class where “People of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages would gather together, crank up the music and dance their hearts out.” It’s not hard to imagine how a virus could spread in an environment like this.

During the same time period in South Korea, the epidemiologists uncovered zero cases resulting from classes with fewer than five students per session or from low-intensity classes like Pilates or yoga, even if they were taught by an infected instructor.  They theorized, that the “hyperventilation caused by severe exercise in a confined space may be the reason for the extremely high attack (the percentage of people exposed who become infected) rate.” 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the idea of getting back to normal at your local SPIN or Crossfit studio, but there are some things you can do for the time being:

Get Outside: Instagram hashtag #outdoorworkout is on fire right now. There are myriad options for workouts in which you can mimic the work of machines and weights using stuff around your house and your yard.

Choose smaller classes: Carefully choose your indoor class workouts. Take smaller classes or choose a larger venue that isn’t crowded.

Mix it up: Do your intense cardio or HIIT workouts outside or online at home but head back to small classes for your strength and stretch classes like Pilates (signup here for virtual classes at

Whatever you decide, keep moving your body! The health benefits of exercise are too powerful to ignore. See you at Pilates!