YMCA uses temporary space for group classes

Members at the YMCA in Ocean Springs no longer need to use workout videos and livestreams to stay fit during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, members can take fitness classes in person.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blossman Family YMCA has continued to find ways to keep the community physically active.

In accordance with state COVID-19 guidelines, only 88 people total are allowed in the building at once, all fitness equipment is spaced six feet apart, and a new check-in system was implemented including taking everyone’s temperature. Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA CEO Rob Kirkland said, “It has been a struggle for the community as we shut things down and become less active. And the Y is all about connecting people. We’re a social company, organization. And so, we’ve had to reverse that concept. So now we’re hoping it’s time to start unveiling the reconnect with society, safely.”

The Y has teamed up with the City of Ocean Springs to temporarily provide in-person, socially distanced group fitness classes at the Ryan Youth Center, located just around the corner from the main building. Fitness Director Joey Conwill said, “Having a big space like what we have at the Ryan Youth Center has given us an opportunity to show people, you know, that you can really come in and exercise safely.”

The Ryan Youth Center not only allows Y members to stay active, it also gives members a place to socialize safely. YMCA Fitness Instructor Anna Figueroa-Ras said, “Everybody comments how they’ve been missing coming because for so many people, this is where they socialize.”

Physical activity and socializing aren’t the only benefits of group fitness classes. “Exercise is important, but it’s so good for your mental health and being able to see people and be around people at a distance is great for your mental health.”

For Ocean Springs resident Heather Williams online fitness classes just weren’t the same as taking classes with others. “Being around the people makes a big difference. It just kind of motivates you, gets you real pumped up. So I really like the group fitness classes the most.”

The change of scenery and seeing familiar faces helps, too. “It is really nice to see people again. Other than the three people I see every day at home. Sadly, we cannot hug, but we can tell each other how much we’ve missed each other.”

Categories: Jackson County, Local News, News

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