BILLINGS — Exercise gymnasiums are not yet allowed to open in Montana, but the Billings YMCA staff started offering socially distanced outdoor group exercise classes in the building's parking lot Monday with the approval from Yellowstone County health officials.
“We had a couple emails into (Yellowstone County Health Officer) John Felton. We wanted to make sure we had everything approved. We wanted to make sure that our members were safe," said Kassia Lyman, the health and wellness director for the Billings YMCA.
For the past few weeks, the YMCA has been offering online workout classes for their members at home. The Billings YMCA's CEO Kim Kaiser has been emailing Felton for the past few weeks to figure out the logistics for the class.
"Really thinking through what the registration process looks like? What does it look like from the second they enter the parking lot? There were lots of things that we had to think through logistically to make sure that everybody’s safe but has a lot of fun. I think we nailed it," Lyman said.
YMCA staff painted logos on the cement of the parking lot to help guide members to an appropriate spot to work out.
“John Felton made sure that we were more than 10 feet apart. We actually have them all 13 feet apart so that we know our members are safe. They recommend you actually being more than six feet apart from each other while you are being physically active. Because you're exerting yourself, you're exhaling with extreme force. So six feet just isn't going to cut it," Lyman said.
While the class on Monday night didn't require any sort of exercise equipment, future classes will utilize some equipment with non-porous surfaces for easy cleaning, Lyman said.
“With these classes we will be using equipment and it’s all non-porous. So we know it will be dumbbells, jump ropes, bands, barbells with plates. Things that don’t absorb any of the germs and stuff that we can easily clean," Lyman said.
The YMCA has plans to offer more classes in the coming days. With the same kind of exercises one would find in a normal class indoors.
“Today was the kickoff, which was so exciting. We have (classes) through the rest of the week, Monday through Friday. Then next week we start multiple times a day, even on the weekends. So we’re going to be partying hard out here," Lyman said.