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Outdoor exercise offered during pandemic

T-R file photo — Community members participate in Yoga in the Park last April, sponsored by the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA and the 13th Street District.

With the temporary closing of gyms and the continued importance of social distancing, many have found it difficult to get exercise. In this time of high stress, being active is a great way to relieve anxiety and release endorphins which trigger feelings of pleasure.

The Marshalltown Y has started an outdoor group exercise program for members of the community. Y membership is not required to participate.

Keisha Lockhart, health and wellness coordinator at the YMCA-YWCA, said the facility began offering these classes to include residents who are still trying to social distance.

“Outside classes are a way that the Y can reach those in the community who are not yet comfortable being in a confined space exercising,” she said. “Being active is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle and providing the outside classes gives more community members the opportunity to be active while also practicing physical distancing. There were also requests by members and community members for outside exercise opportunities.”

All outdoor classes meet in the grassy area east of the Horne-Henry Center gym. Participants are asked to bring their own yoga mat or beach towel for the yoga class.

T-R file photo — Health and Wellness Director Angie Paxson, left, and Health and Wellness Coordinator Keisha Lockhart, right, review curriculum for a program.

The program began June 18 and has had nine classes so far, including yoga, intervals, stationary cycling, walking and stretch classes.

With only two more to go, now is the time to take advantage of these free classes.

The first one is a yoga class 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. There will be an intervals class from 5:10 to 6 a.m. on Friday.

“The outside classes have been taught by Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA group exercise instructors,” Lockhart said. “Some of the same familiar faces community members see inside the Y can be seen leading the outside classes.”

She added there has not been a great turnout for the classes, but they plan to revisit the potential for outside classes in the fall.

Being outside allows for social distancing, reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Lockhart said masks are encouraged when social distancing is not possible.

No matter what people’s goals are for exercising, getting outside and moving their bodies are great ways to stay healthy.

“Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle,” Lockhart said. “The outside classes at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA are being offered in a large, open space perfect for practicing physical distancing.”

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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