How Gyms Can Run Outdoor Fitness Classes


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many people to move their workout activities outside the gym, causing gyms to also adapt by running their outdoor fitness classes. 

Even before the pandemic, outdoor fitness classes have been fairly popular with more people realizing the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor fitness training. Outdoor fitness classes provide greater vitamin D exposure, and many experts also believe that outdoor exercises actually burn more calories than their indoor counterparts. 

However, with all those benefits, running outdoor fitness classes can be difficult and challenging, and we also need to consider the rules and regulations set by landowners and local governments. 

That is why in this article, we will discuss all you need to know about how gyms can run their outdoor fitness classes.

Without further ado, let us begin. 

Before anything else, check with your landowners and local council about whether you are permitted to run an outdoor fitness class and the legal requirements for doing so. 

You might think that no one will check whether you’ve got the right permit, but once your class gets popular, they will. It’s always better to be safe than sorry later. 

If you are located in the US, you can check this list for regulations and requirements for starting outdoor fitness classes in different cities in the US. In most cases, you’ll only need to register for the outdoor fitness class with the local park’s management, and after that, you’ll get a written permit and code of conduct to follow. 

Your fitness instructors (if it’s not you) must agree to this code of conduct, and they might also need to register their information with the park’s management. Make sure to always bring the written permit when running the outdoor classes. 

In short, make sure you’ve fulfilled all the legal requirements before you start training clients outdoors.

Insurance Requirements

Also, check whether you are legally required to be insured, but most likely you’ll need fitness instructor insurance. Even if you are not legally required to be insured, the right cover can help protect your money when your client sustains an injury during your outdoor class or when you accidentally damage a property during a class. 

You might want to consider the following insurance covers: 

  • Professional indemnity insurance: protect fitness trainers against legal actions when a client gets hurt based on the advice given during a class.
  • Public liability insurance: will protect both trainers and clients when they are injured during or as a result of a class. It will also protect gym equipment and public property where the class is being organized. 
  • Personal accident: will protect trainers when they can’t work due to accident-related injuries and will cover the treatment and rehab fees.
  • Sports equipment insurance: will provide coverage when gym equipment is lost or damaged. 

Where Can You Run Outdoor Fitness Classes?

Parks and other public open spaces remain the best choices for running your outdoor classes, but they aren’t the only option. If your gym has a parking area, for example, you can use several parking spots as a classroom. 

In general, however, you can host your outdoor fitness classes anywhere as long as:

  • It’s an open outdoor area
  • It has enough space for your clients while also considering physical distancing when required
  • You are legally permitted to run your class in this area

Gym Equipment and Tools

If the outdoor area is located relatively far away from your gym, then you might want to consider not bringing too many pieces of equipment for logistics reasons. 

Of course, the equipment you’ll need would depend on what kinds of classes you’re going to host, so it’s best to focus on classes that don’t require too many pieces of equipment (i.e. bodyweight training).

You can also ask your clients to bring their own equipment, which can actually be a viable option in this pandemic situation to limit equipment sharing. 

Organizing Your Outdoor Fitness Classes

Often the biggest challenge in running an outdoor fitness class is organizing it.

If the training spot is not (yet) permanent, for example, your gym members and clients can have difficulties in finding this spot, leading to inefficient and ineffective classes. Also, if it’s a big class and you’d require your members to bring their own equipment, then communications can be a major issue. 

While the city park may probably hold more participants than your standard fitness studio, doesn’t mean more is always the merrier. It’s best to set a limit for each class so you can make sure your fitness instructor can devote enough attention and time to maintain class quality. 

With all these challenges, a class scheduling software can significantly help in organizing your outdoor classes, reducing headaches of fitness instructors and you as the organizer, while also ensuring the best experiences for your gym members and clients. 

Benefits of Outdoor Fitness Classes

Outdoor fitness classes aren’t only beneficial in this recovery period of the COVID-19 pandemic but can provide more variety in your exercises and other physical and mental health benefits, including: 

  • Vitamin D exposure. Vitamin D has been known for its favorable effects in viral infections and is also essential for various health benefits.     
  • Cost-efficiency: as a gym owner, outdoor classes can help you save more money. You can eliminate property costs, and most outdoor classes tend to use fewer and simpler pieces of gym equipment. 
  • Exposure: running your class in a public space may also attract passersby that might be interested in joining your gym. Every outdoor class can be a free promotion for your gym. 
  • Less competition: at the moment, there is still a fairly limited number of gyms offering the outdoor fitness experience, so you can stand out in the crowd. 

End Words

Running outdoor fitness classes is not only an alternative for gyms during the COVID-19 pandemic and its recovery period, but we can expect it to be a growing trend in the years to come. Not only it provides various health benefits, including promoting mental wellbeing, but outdoor fitness classes can also provide more variety for your gym members and clients to help them stay engaged and motivated. 

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