MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the largest gyms in the country, based right here in Minnesota, argues gyms are not super spreaders.

On Friday, Life Time CEO Braham Akradi filed a request for access to government data to see the exact amount of virus spread happening in health clubs in Minnesota.

“The clubs are amongst the lowest places that they’re spreading this virus,” said Akradi.

Life Time said in a statement, “We have had approximately 3.15 million visits to its Minnesota clubs since they reopened on June 10. Since that time 352 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported by members and/or team members. This equates to .0001% of the total amount of cases in the state.”

Life Time Fitness in Edina was the one part of Samantha Maroney’s daily routine that she didn’t cut out during this pandemic. Unlike many other activities she enjoys, she felt this was one was the safest.

“It’s really what eliminates all the worry,” said Maroney. “When you’re greeted, there’s the temperature check.”

Many other Life Time members agree. Sean Shannon says masks were required at all times in locker rooms and walking between equipment.

“Some on the equipment if they’re doing cardio, they’ll take them off, but they’re social distanced between the next piece of equipment, so nobody is right there,” said Shannon.

Maroney said her gym went beyond CDC protocols to make classes safe and getting creative. Her favorite cycle classes were held on the rooftop of the gym on sunny days.

“We were all up there on our bikes, waving our towels around, we were all socially distanced,” said Maroney.

While some want gyms to stay open this winter for the physical health. Many also crave the mental wellbeing that comes from working out.

“I come here for mind, body and soul. I come here to not only to stay in shape, but to keep my anxiety at bay and everything,” said Russell Burton, a Life Time member.

Right now, gym patrons and staff are just hoping Gov. Tim Walz doesn’t extend the closure longer than a month.

Marielle Mohs

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