Gyms, yoga studios closed by health order offer free online classes

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

A Feb. 17, 2020 courtesy photo shows Down Dog Yoga Center’s first online session after closing under the state health order to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Down Dog Yoga Center/Facebook)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With gyms across Michigan closed to curb the spread of coronavirus, some businesses are turning to the internet to offer fitness sessions for those stuck at home.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered gyms to close Monday, along with a slew of other businesses. Whitmer also instructed restaurants to stop dine-in services and she banned all gatherings of more than 50 people to help “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases.

Planet Fitness launched its free “home work-in” online exercise sessions on Facebook Monday with the instructor showing off moves from inside a living room. Planet Fitness plans to livestream 20-minute workouts on Facebook daily at 7 p.m. with a promise of “some surprise celebrity guests.”

“Let’s workout through this,” the company posted on Facebook.

Planet Fitness isn’t alone. AM Yoga in Grand Rapids says it will stream free classes daily at 9 a.m. on its Facebook page all week.

Down Dog Yoga Center in downtown Kalamazoo is also taking its regularly scheduled sessions to the virtual realm. Customers can sign up a half-hour before their desired session and they’ll be given access to a link to the virtual class.

Owner Kristin Fiore says adapting was necessary to support her employees and customers in this time of uncertainty.

Under her virtual business model, yoga instructors hold their sessions from the studio. Only one other person is inside the business and the staff wipe down anything they come into contact with during their session, reducing the risk of coronavirus.

Fiore says online sessions are the same price as regular in-studio classes, but she plans to offer a free weekly class soon to people facing economic hardships.

Fiore says such classes are crucial in a time like this, reducing anxiety and boosting immunity. She says they’ve been well-received by patrons of Down Dog Yoga Center who are in need of a familiar face.


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