San Antonio – With opportunities for fitness and working out slashed during the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, many are seeking outdoor recreation to fulfill their wellness needs. It should come as no surprise that parks and greenways have become busier as a reflection of more running, biking and walking.
Geoffrey Lindsey manages the Blue Star Bike Shop in Southtown and said that the shop has been extremely busy during the stay-at-home order and even recorded one of its most profitable days within the last few weeks.
“They’re getting cabin fever,” Lindsey said. “They got to get out – gotta get some fresh air. That social distancing and keep your immune system strong and everyone’s pulling their bikes out. All these old bikes that haven’t seen the light of day for a year or three.”
First-time runners have also affected business at local running shops as consumers invest in appropriate shoes and gear. Fleet Feet San Antonio has three locations in the city and has begun offering virtual fits and curbside pickup to continue serving customers. Kirsten Mengden is the operating partner for The Quarry and The Rim locations and said that most of those online fittings have been with new runners. Additionally, some customers have had to transition from other fitness routines to running to stay active according to Hannah Schwab, who operates the franchise at The Forum.
“A few new customers that are used to lifting, doing cross fit, going to a gym and because those are all closed and they can’t right now, they’re trying to find a different way to work out their stress...trying to tone some sort of muscle group or do something to keep themselves moving so they’re trying running or walking for the first time,” Schwab said.
Veteran runners, although no stranger to the sport, have been challenged by the cancellation and postponement of races. San Antonio native, Andrea Brambila, was attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon at the 2020 Irving Marathon. When it was cancelled, she decided to complete the full distance for her eighth marathon virtually – which she did along the Leon Creek Greenway on March 28.
“I really just wanted kind of a way to remind myself that I'm strong enough to take on these big challenges and that I can still do big scary things and so that’s kind why I decided to just say, ‘Well, you know, my race is cancelled but I can still do something hard,’” Brambila said. “And I couldn’t really think of anything harder than running 26.2 miles by myself.”
Regardless of the activity or motivation, outdoor recreation is providing one of the only outlets available during a stressful period.
“I think it’s incredibly important to try to stay healthy especially in the face of a health crises like I think the more that you can do to like keep your body physically healthier and in better condition, the more you can protect yourself especially if you’re practicing good hygiene, washing your hands all the time,” said Valero Trailhead biker, Elizabeth Cardenas. “We brought hand sanitizer with us, trying to stay as safe as possible while still keeping our physical health up.”