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Variable Definitions:
Gyms: The number of gyms or fitness facilities in a given area

Google Maps API

Years Available:

Methodology Note:

The original data comes at the point level. Our team spatial joined each point to 2020 Census Tracts based on Google Maps provided coordinates. Businesses are filtered based on having a “currently operational” status and being tagged as a “gym” on Google Maps.

Why are these variables important to measure?

Gyms are spaces that encourage and enable physical health and well-being. They provide a variety of equipment and services to assist people in reaching their fitness objectives, such as cardio machines, weights, courses, and personal training sessions. Regular exercise has been linked to various health advantages, including a lower risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improved mental health and cognitive function, and increased lifespan. Gyms may be essential to an individual’s overall well-being by offering easy access to these resources and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
However, gyms are more than simply places to exercise; they may also serve as crucial communal spaces. They provide opportunities to meet others with similar interests, make relationships, and develop a feeling of belonging. Gyms may give individuals a sense of support and inspiration by establishing social connections and community, motivating them to keep their workout regimen and achieve their goals. Community gyms have also been linked to offering a sense of purpose to the community’s socially and economically disenfranchised sectors by providing a location for people to tell their tales, encouraging social peace, and making significant contributions to recognizing and removing bias.  
Despite the apparent advantages of gyms, many people need help to access these facilities. The cost of gym memberships and equipment can be prohibitively expensive, making participation difficult for people with lower salaries or financial restrictions. This can lead to unequal access to the advantages of gyms and contribute to health inequities between socioeconomic groups. Recognizing and addressing these difficulties is critical for promoting equal access to services that promote physical activity and well-being. Outside of gyms, there are other ways to reap these advantages. Walking, riding a bike, or engaging in community sports programs are just a few methods to include physical exercise in your everyday life. 
Written by Debarun Sarbabidya


Bob Stewart, Aaron Smith & Brian Moroney (2013) Capital building through gym work, Leisure Studies, 32:5, 542-560, DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2012.697183
Chiara Milan & Stefania Milan (2021) Fighting gentrification from the boxing ring: how community gyms reclaim the right to the city, Social Movement Studies, 20:6, 722-739, DOI: 10.1080/14742837.2020.1839406
Physical activity participation among persons with disabilities: Barriers and facilitators. (2004, May 25). Physical Activity Participation Among Persons With Disabilities: Barriers and Facilitators – ScienceDirect. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2004.02.002
Steenhuis, I. H., Nooy, S. B., Moes, M. J., & Schuit, A. J. (2009). Financial barriers and pricing strategies related to participation in sports activities: the perceptions of people of low income. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 6(6), 716-721.
Bantham, A., Ross, S. E. T., Sebastião, E., & Hall, G. (2021). Overcoming barriers to physical activity in underserved populations. Progress in cardiovascular diseases, 64, 64-71.

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