Local Health & Fitness Businesses Look for Ways to Survive COVID-19

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Artemis Yoga runs outdoor classes at Arsenal Park several times a week.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball for many industries, but some local exercise and fitness businesses have found some innovative ways to serve their clients.

A fitness trainer has teamed up with a dance studio to provide an event for the whole family, while a yoga studio has taken to the park to do in-person classes. Meanwhile, some new businesses are trying to establish themselves in spite of the Coronavirus restrictions.

Jan Taylor, who runs Get Lively: Health & Fitness, has a studio where she has been running socially distanced in-person classes. She found, however, that in the time of COVID-19, many of her clients have a hard time getting away from their children to attend a class.

“Parents can’t go anymore,” Taylor said.

To solve that problem, Taylor teamed with dance instructor Lilia Weisfeldt, owner of Ballroom in Boston, with whom she shares the studio on Parker Street. On Aug. 4, they will put on Fun Family Camp: Dance & Fitness.

Kids will be learning TikTok dances with Weisfeldt, while their parents participate in a Bootcamp style workout with Taylor

Since the shutdown began, the Artemis Yoga studio in Coolidge Square has been closed for classes. However, owner Liz Padula has continued classes online, and now outdoors with most being offered at one of Watertown’s public parks.

“Arsenal Park is super lush, it’s like a hidden gem. People have been so surprised how beautiful it is. We even had a hawk land in tree above us,” Padula said. “People have been excited to do live in-person classes.”

Artemis offers five classes a week, two on weekday evenings, one weekday morning at the Atrium School field, and two weekend morning classes.

Following the state’s COVID-19 regulations is a big part of running in-person classes, these days. Classes can be as big as 25, including the instructor, but Padula said there are usually around a dozen participants. For all classes, people must preregister, too.

“The biggest thing is the preregistration which helps if we have to do contact tracing,” Padula said. “Also, we have a headcount.” 

Exercise opportunities have been dwindling in Watertown, with the recent closing of the Mount Auburn Club, along with the Boston Sports Club in the Arsenal on the Charles closing its doors.

Some smaller studios hope to fill the void. Those willing to leave town can check out The Exercise Coach Belmont. Owner Scott Hall opened the franchise recently, and has already attracted some clients from Watertown.

Hall’s studio focuses on clients 40 and older, many of whom do not like working out in a big gym. Classes can be as big as four people, but he said 80 percent of the sessions are one-on-one with a fitness coach.

The Exercise Coach uses computerized equipment that adjusts to the user and does not put as much strain on joints.

“Because the machine has variable resistance, it controls the amount of resistance through workout,” Hall said. “You get an optimal amount of resistance on muscles.”

The Exercise Coach offers a no obligation introduction, where the first two workouts are free, Hall said.

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