Running resurgence as more people enjoy exercise outdoors during pandemic

Local

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – With fitness centers shut down due to coronavirus closures and many people now shut-in, more folks are looking outside for exercise.

Social distancing measures mean a solo sport is seeing a sudden surge in popularity.

“It’s mostly real fun to me, because I get to go outside,” said Trinity Armstrong, 7. “And I love animals and nature’s mostly outside.”

The Armstrong family uses time outdoors in their neighborhood as a reward. Mom Shelley is an avid runner. She’s had to adapt her pre-pandemic personal milestones.

“After COVID, it’s more about our family’s mental well-being,” she said.

Her two daughters ride alongside on their bikes, while Armstrong sets the pace, taking her wellness in stride.

An exercise and fitness specialist with a doctorate degree in health studies, Armstrong is currently a faculty member of Walden University. She said the sport supplies serotonin, a much-needed mood booster.

“Running is something anyone can do anywhere,” she said. “You just have to put one foot in front of the other.”

The staff at Sportspectrum agreed that the sport is open to all fitness levels.

“Running is not canceled,” said Andrew Gaspard, manager. “It’s one of the only things that hasn’t been canceled.”

To hit the ground running, all you need is a good pair of shoes. Sportspectrum has plenty.

The store closed its doors as a non-essential business when mandated by the government. They’re now offering online shopping for the first time and curbside service to help people find the right gear to step into the sport.

“At this point, I think any sales are great,” said Gaspard. “One, it helps us pay our employees, but it’s also telling me that people are still exercising.”

They said they’re seeing new customers looking to lace up. The Sportspectrum team is hoping to help instill healthy habits and start them off on the right foot.

“I think there’s an opportunity for people to really create some discipline that becomes lifestyle choices,” said Gaspard. “And not just exercise during COVID.”

But, others may not quite be on the trail to a lifelong love of running.

“I just got tired of working out at home,” said Kertrigus Thomas. “There wasn’t enough room, so I decided to come out and walk today. Plus, the weather is nice and you know, it’s the perfect time to do so.”

“One of the biggest things you can do right now is pick up the projects you’ve been meaning to do and get after it,” said Logan Slade. “Whether that’s exercise or something more creative. Do it.”

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