RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Midlothian YMCA was one of many non-essential businesses including gyms, and restaurants that opened its doors to people across the commonwealth after Governor Ralph Northam’s decision to reopen parts of Virginia after weeks of pandemic restrictions.
The Midlothian YMCA’s Health and Wellness Director William Thornton says the family gym has begun transitioning from its Health at Home Virtual fitness program to its Healthy Outside initiative. As per Phase One guidelines, its operations have been moved outdoors to accommodate the latest social distancing recommendations by the state.
“Phase One has been absolutely amazing for us and amazing for the members, it been great to be able to get out and interact with our members doing group exercises at the 16 locations we have throughout greater Richmond," Thorton said.
Those wanting to take advantage of the shorter classes must pre-register online and bring a matt in addition to a face mask to participate.
As people arrive they will be directed to an outdoor entrance where they will be checked in. Lines have been marked off on the sidewalk to ensure those who show up maintain a safe distance from each other.
“We’ve done all of our classes as express so their all 30-minute classes that allow us to move more people through classes throughout the day, so we have classes that will start as early as 7 a.m. and go as late as 7 p.m.,” Thornton said.
If specific equipment is needed for the workouts, registrants will be directed to an area where they can pick up free weights, move to designated stationary bikes and other items one at a time.
Members will also be directed towards hand sanitizing stations before their workouts. All of the equipment is sanitized before every class.
From there they will be directed to spaces marked by X’s on the field which have been spaced 20 feet apart to ensure that members have plenty of space to move around without compromising socials distance measures.
“With Healthy Outside people can do a wide range of activities from Zumba to cardio-dance to boot camp and obstacle courses for the family,” Thornton said. ”All equipment is sanitized before every use to ensure the safety of everyone."
As per Phase one guidelines classes are kept small with no more than nine people per class. Thornton says additional safety measures have been taken to ensure the well-being of their most at-risk members.
“What we’ve been able to do for those who are at high risk or have a suppressed immune system is cater time specifically for them so we have a list of what we call gentle classes where they will be in chairs in order to keep them safe and keep them active."
For those members, workout bins will be provided with personalized equipment that has been sanitized so that they don’t have to get up to get their workout equipment.
Thorton says the Midlothian Y is still accomodating those who may feel safer getting their fitness lessons virtually until the pandemic restrictions are completely lifted.
“All of the virtual on-demand classes that we have done in the past are still there and they can get that on our website at ymcarichmond.org," Thornton said. “We know that there are some people who may come and those that may not, but we’re here again to serve the community in the way that they need.”
Starting Monday Thorton says the YMCA’s Midlothian, Powhatan and Goochland locations will be opening their outdoor pools for lap-swimming exercises only. Those who wish to use that service must register in advance.
For information on how to register for a Healthy Outside class click HERE.
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