“SHREVEPORT, La. – I wouldn’t have my house without this gym,” said Rob Webster, owner of Play It Again Sports in Shreveport.

Webster is a very busy man. When he’s not on duty for the Shreveport Police Department, he’s non-stop answering fitness questions from customers in his Play It Again Sports on East 70th Street.

Like many business owners, the COVID pandemic forced Webster to close its doors for nearly five months. Slowly but surely, the buyers came back, but they were all looking for one thing: fitness equipment.

“Everything closed. When restaurants and non-essential stores closed, we had to close. It took three months for things to open on the pretext of fitness. We started working with many doctors who were sending PT (physical) therapy patients.” up here, “said Webster.

This small part of his shop proved a salvation to his business. According to Webster’s research, in the two months since the fitness area reopened, records broke and was made possible thanks to a local connection.

“We have actually been fortunate to partner with X-Mark Fitness Equipment, a local Shreveport company. They are here and only sell commercial grade fitness equipment,” said Webster.

The move turned out to be a win-win. X-Mark is a company that specializes in all the essentials in Shreveport. The company was able to supply the store with anything its customers were looking for.

X-Mark was even able to help him with some hard-to-find items like this knee flexion bar that’s supposedly the Rolls-Royce model. Those who use it can twist the handles whichever feels best and start lifting.

With certain COVID protocols still in place, the personal home fitness business is expected to continue booming, making health officials happy.

“It’s incredibly important, especially during the pandemic. One thing we’re seeing is that COVID-19 isn’t the only thing adding to people’s health decline, ”said Craig Alger of the Willis Knighton Health System. “When everything shuts down, it’s also left with staying home and getting very little physical activity. We’ve seen quite a bit of weight gain and people have lost their ability to get out and do the things they want to do.”

So whether you decide to pile the plates up or just toss a few dumbbells around the garage, only nearby fitness equipment can tempt you to get healthier.

“Chemically speaking, our bodies are in a better mood when we exercise more often, and typically we’re also better mentally,” said Alger.

Whenever you’re just starting a new workout, it’s always a good idea to speak to a doctor to see which routine is best for you.