American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

It is hard to believe, but fall will soon be upon us. And as we transition into autumn and winter, green exercise will become difficult for many areas of the United States. 

Certified exercise professionals and community members alike are starting to think about where they can access safe, structured exercise when “indoor-only” weather sets in—especially since COVID-19 remains a public health concern. 

Green exercise can be challenging in cold weather. But there are still ways it can be done with a little reimagination.  

“Having access to open outdoor space is so important,” said Lisa Wilder, Group Fitness Instructor and Certified Health Coach. Lisa is also the former owner of FIT4MOM Chicago. “This is especially true in the era of COVID. The ability to safely exercise outdoors is not only important for your physical health, but for emotional health too.” 

As such, Lisa offers three key ways that exercise professionals can pivot their instruction to indoor/sheltered areas while still encompassing the spirit of the Moving Together Outside campaign. 

  1. Partner with park districts—Park districts provide much more than just access to public parks. They also manage related recreational and cultural facilities like sports and music venues, museums, zoos, natural paths, and athletic fields. Given the increase in shared-use agreements being issued across our nation, you may be surprised to learn about the different types of venues that may be available to host your structured exercise classes.

    “Partnering with park districts not only gives park patrons more exercise options but also advertises park district programs that people in the community might not otherwise know about, had they not visited your group exercise class,” Lisa said. “It’s great for bolstering the community.”
  2. Offer a free class at a mall or other large public space— “Brick-and-mortar retail stores, in particular, have really been hurt by the pandemic,” Lisa said. “Most malls have large, open spaces with natural light that work great for socially distanced exercise classes. It’s a great way to bring people back into the mall while also offering them a safe, accessible exercise option. It is a win-win for both exercise professionals and the mall."
  3. Seek out small businesses that have the same target audience—Think about similar small businesses in your community that share your target audience and see if you would be able to host your exercises classes there. “For example, if your target demographic is active moms, find a large play space or indoor sports facility and see if you can hold classes for moms while their kids are taking a class,” Lisa said. 

To learn more about how outdoor exercise can help certified exercise professionals like you grow their businesses long-term, visit The Moving Together Outside campaign online.