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Sioux Falls sees big jump in gym options

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Sioux Falls residents heading to the gym to get in the shape after the holidays have a lot more options to choose from than before, and a city official hopes it signals a cultural shift to a healthier lifestyle.

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The number of fitness centers in South Dakota's largest city has doubled in the past five years to about three dozen, Fitness 19 operator Brandy Sivesind told the Argus Leader newspaper. Some existing fitness centers also have expanded, such as the downtown YMCA, which is in the midst of a $3 million upgrade.

"It definitely is a lot more competitive than it used to be. People look at what's hot and they get in," said Randy Hartz, owner of Complete Fitness.

City Health and Wellness Coordinator Rana DeBoer said she hopes the abundance of gyms indicates a shift in mindset after five decades trending toward inactivity and obesity.

"We've been talking about the health care crisis in our nation for a long enough time that organizations from health care to public health to workplaces to all the places in the fitness industry have been promoting living well as a lifestyle," she said. "That's starting to take effect."

Bodyworks gym owner Seth Chapman said there is plenty of business to go around.

"The trend is toward more people understanding the importance of exercise," he said.