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Virtual Fitness Can Bridge the Divide

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Virtual Fitness

How in-house, custom created virtual fitness can be used to attract and engage diverse new members and staff from surrounding communities.

COVID-19 has transformed our industry. My organization, like many others, pivoted and set-up recording equipment the day after the announcement for March closures. During this process we received a random request from a local company to host a live streaming virtual class for the company’s employees. About 20 participants attended the first class — most importantly, potential members.

COVID has exposed the degree that health disparities, income, race, gender inequities and emotional isolation impact the world. Fortunately, the positive effects exercise has on immunity and behavior has also gained attention. The distribution of vaccines offers hope the fitness industry will soon be back on track. Collectively, fitness facilities are banning together to create local alliances. Fitness organizations can drive positive change on a local level by partnering with small businesses, educational institutions, associations and more to provide their in-house virtual fitness content.  

Remote working is here to stay and the flexibility of virtual fitness from a local fitness facility can create new customers who may want to meet “in-person” their favorite “virtual instructor.” In-house, custom created virtual content can be used to attract and engage diverse new members and staff from surrounding communities. Fitness organizations and professionals can be part of the solution for bridging health disparity gaps for Black, Indigenous and People of Color through:

  • Ability to reach a broader audience with a variety of virtual content.
  • Ability to communicate a positive message from recognizable and relatable role models.
  • Opportunity to create a cultural identity around healthy living.

As mitigation continues, my facility along with others in Chicago continue to create and upgrade our streaming content especially for group exercise via live social media, web solutions and pre-recordings for member retention, engagement and community connection.

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Aida Johnson-Rapp

Aida Johnson-Rapp is an industry veteran and has held senior level positions at Chicago’s East Bank Club, Equinox, WTS International and Wellbridge.

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