En-Route Exercise Classes

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Cal

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So, I just thought of this. If it's been suggested before, sorry!

So, I'm sure theres at least some people on every train that would like to exercise while going cross country. That's not really possible on the train. However, at the longer smoke breaks, there is plenty of time (and usually space) for some exercise. So during these stops, people (locals probably) could host a small fitness class. Maybe some light cardio, or even some yoga (all standing). This would allow some people to get a little bit of exercise in if they please, and it wouldn't cost a thing to Amtrak.
 

Cal

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I know of an AUer who does yoga on the trains and has taught others some yoga on the trains and platforms during gatherings.
So it's not unheard of. I don't see any reason why more people shouldn't do this, it'd be a great thing
 

pennyk

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While I am not critical of the idea, for people with balance issues this could be a challenge given the rocking of the train. Not to mention, where would there be enough room to do this?
Many yoga and stretching poses can be done seated. Standing poses can be done on the platform.
 

Cal

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If you read my original post, I said to do it during the long fresh air breaks such as Tuscan, where they have to refuel. This would be on stable ground, would not cost Amtrak, and would not delay the train.
 

flitcraft

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If you are curious about how much exercise you could get from a seated position, check out the Sit and Be Fit videos you can find on Youtube. The woman who does this has been doing a PBS series for at least 15 years. I used to think it was ridiculous till I suffered a serious leg injury--multiple comminuted compound fractures, so I had to be non-weight-bearing for almost three months. My physical therapist recommended that I do the televised exercises daily. I think they saved me from a lifetime of limping and pain.
 
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John Santos

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What about all those brand new VII baggage cars on trains that no longer have checked baggage service? Plenty of room, especially post-COVID to exercise. Maybe they could install some treadmills and stationary bikes?
 

Cal

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What about all those brand new VII baggage cars on trains that no longer have checked baggage service? Plenty of room, especially post-COVID to exercise. Maybe they could install some treadmills and stationary bikes?
I don't know, something about trying to exercise properly while on a moving train... Especially while going over rough track. That also sounds pretty costly to Amtrak.

Still think it'd be great to just have classes at long smoke stops! No extra cost to them, benefit to the passengers1
 
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This brings to mind other possibilities for 'enrichment' on the rails... they could try holding classes or seminars on long distance commuter trains that have a semi-regular ridership...such as Albany<>New York City, or Milwaukee<>Chicago, in one car. These could be for credit or for entertainment value.
 

Trogdor

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There’s a lot of large assumptions that go into the idea that this wouldn’t cost Amtrak anything and wouldn’t delay trains.

Does the fitness instructor do this for free (out of the kindness of their heart), or do the passengers have to pay? Who handles payment, and how is it done? If it’s done directly from the passenger to the instructor, then that delays the start of the class by how long it takes to do all the payment. If it’s done ahead of time, that opens up a whole new can of worms (i.e. passengers paid for a workout, but due to the train running late, the class had to be cut short and now they want a refund).

Also, a fitness instructor probably has a fairly tight schedule (going from one class to another), and train delays would throw that all out of whack. Unless they were paid a heavy premium to always be available (which is going to cost *somebody* a lot of money to cover that guarantee), they probably wouldn’t be that interested.

Generally, the one-night LD trains don’t have any stops that are anywhere near long enough for something like this to make sense. Even the so-called “smoke” stops (which are really just stops with longer dwell for higher ridership turnover and/or enroute recovery time) aren’t all that long for something like this. The longer stops on two-night trains are for inspection, servicing, locomotive fueling, etc., and in those cases you have all sorts of necessary activity on the platform with trucks, carts, mechanical personnel, etc., taking away room that might be needed.

Then there’s the question of liability. Who is responsible if a passenger gets injured during one of these fitness classes? Who has to ensure that the space is properly maintained to minimize injury. If we’re just talking out on the platform, those aren’t always the best-maintained surfaces, and ballast blown onto the platform, equipment laying around, etc. could pose a hazard.

Given the typical ridership I’ve seen on long-distance trains, I’d be surprised if you ever get more than 1 or 2% of passengers on any given train, and that depends on how much it’s going to cost. When I go to fitness classes in a gym (pre-COVID times), the walk-up price was around $25 for a one-hour class, and that was in a fixed location (instructor didn’t have to go anywhere to switch from one class to the next) with up to 30 attendees. Charge enough to make it worthwhile for the instructor, and you price out a lot of people that might want to do it. Make it more affordable and, given all of the above, it’s not worth the instructor’s time.
 

Cal

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There’s a lot of large assumptions that go into the idea that this wouldn’t cost Amtrak anything and wouldn’t delay trains.

Does the fitness instructor do this for free (out of the kindness of their heart), or do the passengers have to pay? Who handles payment, and how is it done? If it’s done directly from the passenger to the instructor, then that delays the start of the class by how long it takes to do all the payment. If it’s done ahead of time, that opens up a whole new can of worms (i.e. passengers paid for a workout, but due to the train running late, the class had to be cut short and now they want a refund).

Also, a fitness instructor probably has a fairly tight schedule (going from one class to another), and train delays would throw that all out of whack. Unless they were paid a heavy premium to always be available (which is going to cost *somebody* a lot of money to cover that guarantee), they probably wouldn’t be that interested.

Generally, the one-night LD trains don’t have any stops that are anywhere near long enough for something like this to make sense. Even the so-called “smoke” stops (which are really just stops with longer dwell for higher ridership turnover and/or enroute recovery time) aren’t all that long for something like this. The longer stops on two-night trains are for inspection, servicing, locomotive fueling, etc., and in those cases you have all sorts of necessary activity on the platform with trucks, carts, mechanical personnel, etc., taking away room that might be needed.

Then there’s the question of liability. Who is responsible if a passenger gets injured during one of these fitness classes? Who has to ensure that the space is properly maintained to minimize injury. If we’re just talking out on the platform, those aren’t always the best-maintained surfaces, and ballast blown onto the platform, equipment laying around, etc. could pose a hazard.

Given the typical ridership I’ve seen on long-distance trains, I’d be surprised if you ever get more than 1 or 2% of passengers on any given train, and that depends on how much it’s going to cost. When I go to fitness classes in a gym (pre-COVID times), the walk-up price was around $25 for a one-hour class, and that was in a fixed location (instructor didn’t have to go anywhere to switch from one class to the next) with up to 30 attendees. Charge enough to make it worthwhile for the instructor, and you price out a lot of people that might want to do it. Make it more affordable and, given all of the above, it’s not worth the instructor’s time.
You do provide some excellent points.

I'm sure there are many active people who just enjoy exercising, and would offer to teach a simple 15-20 minute class during these breaks for free, or for a small price.

Didn't have a one-night LD train in mind when I thought of this.

As for liability/space. It wouldn't be anything that hard. Just some standing yoga, or light cardio. Exercises that would be simple enough for you not to get injured easily. As for the space available, I think there is some space at most stations for this. At Tuscan. for example, I see a huge amount of space available.

And about the attendance, that is very true, unfortunately.
 

Barb Stout

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To get exercise on the train (Superliners, anyways), I go up and down the stairs and walk through the compartments that I can. I have observed other people likewise doing this type of circuit. Those stairs will give anyone a nice cardio workout for sure.
 

Twinkletoes

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Aug 29, 2017
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I agree with penny k. The platform is good place to exercise. Before the Plague arrived, I was took the NYP to Meridian, Mississippi trip several times a year. Washington, DC and Atlanta are my usual big exercise stops. For conventional exercise I can walk fast or lightly jog from the sleepers (at the back) to the engine and back. Then, to avoid boarding drama, I stay outside the door right by the stairs and do squats and then run through a few ballet exercises: plies (knee bends), releves (tippy toes), and grand battements (high kicks). Of course I anticipate this activity and have on leggings and a stretchy tunic. I bet standing yoga poses would work. Yes, one has an audience, but the typical ballet class had 15 - 20 students so I am seriously over being looked at while doing such exercises.
 

flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
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I'll be honest, exercise wouldn't be my highest priority while on a train. I almost always get out at fresh air stops and wander around, but I only break out into a jog if I've wandered a bit too far and want to be sure I get on board in time! I do carry a couple of exercise bands and do a little bit of stretch and flexibility exercise in the bedroom, but if I'm typical, I don't know if there's the demand for exercise classes on LD trains...
 
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