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Staff photo by Tim Barber/ Inside the Echelon Studio at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Harrison Bogema, near right, works out to the sounds and instruction from Spanish speaking Maria Vives. "I do two classes in Spanish each week," Vives said.

This story was updated t 10:44 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

If exercise is great for stress relief, then this is a fantastic time for some exercise.

Local gyms and studios are getting creative to help their clients and the community stay fit and blow off steam as coronavirus spreads. Measures range from shutting down altogether to limiting class sizes and amping up cleaning routines to creating online workouts for anyone who cares to join in.

"The online videos on our website and social channels are available to anyone for free, and we are working on getting more live now," said Kyle Miller, co-founder of Kyle House Fitness. The gym made the difficult call to close for 15 days on Monday evening, he said.

At Chattanooga- based Echelon Fitness, which offers in-home cycling workouts, online business this week has been on par with the holiday shopping rush as folks seek ways to stay fit without leaving the house.

"Our at-home product sales via echelonfit.com have continued to be extremely busy," said Lou Lentine, an inventor and promoter from New Jersey who brought his Viatek Consumer Products to Chattanooga in 2011, and created Echelon in 2017 to provide a more affordable stationary bike with the tracking and interactive features of Peloton and other higher-priced rivals.

"Connected fitness continues to be a must-have for anyone wanting to stay fit without leaving the home," he said. "Throughout the weekend we had over 1,000 people consistently shopping on our site for the Echelon indoor connect bike, rower, and Reflect Mirror."

Echelon has opted to keep its studios in Chattanooga and Miami open, but is taking measures to protect clients, Lentine said.

The owners of Southern Soul Yoga on Chattanooga's North Shore closed their doors starting March 13, but they are producing online, on-demand classes to help people continue to practice.

"Especially during times of uncertainty, we need our yoga practices more than ever," studio owners Sara Mingus and Heather Dendy wrote in an email to members. "Our on-demand classes will be offered FREE to the community until we are able to reopen our doors."

The Sports Barn has closed steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools, and capped classes at 18 people. Other measures include removing yoga props, reducing room temperatures and adding distance between equipment.

Contact Mary Fortune at mfortune@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.

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