Pandemic shrinks New Year’s resolution crowds at local gyms


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two of the top New Year’s resolutions year after year are exercising more and losing weight, but the coronavirus pandemic has many steering clear of the gym.

Fitness centers in Rhode Island, including HealthTrax Fitness in East Providence, are coming off a three week shutdown.

HealthTrax Fitness Director Josh McCabe said while it’s been slow since reopening last week, the fitness resolution crowds are especially smaller this year.

“Generally we will see a large influx of new faces and old faces coming back,” he said. “It’s been kind of slow coming back and we’re hoping it will pick up.”

On Friday, HealthTrax held an outdoor fitness class, which is something McCabe says has gained a lot of popularity since the pandemic began.

“It’s gotten more popular,” he said. “We try to offer a lot of variety just because there’s a lot of different comfort levels with corona. So, we have an outdoor area in the back on the deck and we do some outdoor classes weather permitting.”

McCabe says about 75% of their members have visited the gym since the start of the pandemic. He says the facility’s square footage makes abiding by the one person per 150-square-feet restriction easy.

“It really hasn’t been an issue to date,” he said. “We followed all the guidelines as far as masks and spacing the equipment. We are trying to build our stride, and recoup and rebuild. We think this year should be a good year hopefully and we will move past this.”

McCabe says this year is a good one to have a fitness resolution, because exercise helps strengthen the immune system and improves mental health.

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