With many community centers and YMCAs still closed, it can be tough for members to exercise without overheating. But while air conditioned exercise may have to wait, there are still ways to stay fit while beating the heat. If you’re looking for inspiration, try implementing one or more of these programs.
Sunrise (Virtual) Running, Walking or Cycling Club
Encourage members to hit the roads early while the temperatures are still relatively cool. You could set up separate online accountability groups (one each for running, walking and cycling) or simply have one cardio-based group. Encourage members to check in via Facebook or message boards before and after their workouts to encourage and motivate each other. Looking to add to the conversation? Consider asking a personal trainer or registered dietician to post relevant content. If members need an extra incentive, try holding a contest. For example, all members who exercise twice a week and post their workout summary will receive a free water bottle or month of membership.
Virtual Workout Classes
Whether you want to hold them live or load pre-recorded videos to a YouTube channel, virtual workouts are a great way for popular instructors to continue teaching. Aim for classes that don’t require much equipment such as yoga, Pilates, dance or bodyweight strength training. Participants can take the class from the comfort of their air-conditioned home!
Evening Outdoor Workout Classes
If conditions are safe in your area, consider offering outdoor and socially distant exercise classes. Hold the classes in the evening—after the heat of the day, but before sunset. Keep the classes small (ideally less than ten people) and ask participants to reserve a spot in advance and bring any necessary equipment, like water bottles and mats. Classes that don’t require interaction (or heavy breathing) such as yoga may work best.
Online Running Programs
If members want a goal to work toward, you can encourage them to enroll in an online program such as couch-to-5k. Depending on the situation later in the year, participants can either run a virtual race or get-together for a live event. You can make the running program a separate event or tie it in to the virtual running club mentioned above. Encourage runners to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening and to choose shaded roads or trails whenever possible. Simple tricks such as wearing a bandana soaked in ice water or eating an ice pop before heading out can lower body temperature and make the run more enjoyable.
Some members may have access to a pool or lake, so encourage them to stay cool by exercising in the water. Swimming laps might be the most common exercise, but shallow water walking, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking also work!
Easy At-Home Strength
Provide inspiration for members to get fit at home, even if they have minimal equipment (or time!). Some suggestions might include body weight exercises like lunges and push-ups, stair sprints or backyard circuit workouts. Encourage participants to keep a water bottle handy and seek out shady, breezy or air conditioned spaces whenever possible.