‘Healthy Outside’: Gyms adjust quickly to make outdoor fitness possible

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The YMCA of Greater Richmond has 16 locations throughout the region making major adjustments to get outdoor exercise up and running starting tomorrow.

“Throughout history the Y has been whatever the community needs at that time and this has been a time when the community needs the Y,” said William Thornton, Director of Community Health and Wellness.

Thornton told 8News a lot of work and creativity has gone into making this happen.

“We have been preparing to make sure we can get people outside and active and safe as we transition from healthy at home to healthy outside,” he said.

For this “healthy outside” phase, only nine people plus an instructor will be allowed to exercise at a time. At the Midlothian location, there are nine spots marked on the grass with an orange ‘X,’ each of them 10 feet apart.

Thornton also said each class is an “express class” that requires a reservation ahead of time.

“Those are 30 minutes classes that’s gonna allow more people to come through and have an opportunity to be active,” he told 8News.

In addition to cleaning equipment between every use, the YMCA says it’s also designating some classes for the senior community and those in a “high-risk” health category.

For classes like cycling that require more equipment, the bikes will be rolled in and out of the building each day.

“We will add more classes as is needed and continue to meet the needs of the community,” Thornton said.

With first aid equipment to roll in and out each day and plenty of hand sanitizer nearby, the YMCA says bring on phase one.

“To be able to be there for them at a time when things are uncertain, they know they can still count on the Y,” Thornton said, “they can still interact and hear from us that has just been a complete joy to have.”

Starting Monday, May 18, the three YMCA locations with outdoor pools will also open up for lap swimming, but same as with group classes, you must make a reservation.

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