Virtual Fitness Classes
As facilities have had to close due to COVID-19 in the past month, organizations are looking for ways to keep members engaged and fulfill their missions. Many have turned to virtual fitness classes through online platforms such as Facebook Live, Zoom, or YouTube. These classes are a great way to serve the community at a time when people are craving both social connections and physical exercise. However, it’s important to make sure that virtual classes are conducted safely and responsibly. And please remember, while the instructors are working from home, you will need to pay staff for their time to host these classes.
The following are risk management guidelines to consider before hosting virtual classes:
- Start every class with a reminder about personal safety. Encourage participants to check the floor and surrounding area for any tripping hazards, and to make sure they are wearing appropriate footwear and clothing.
- Begin wherever possible with gentle warm up/stretching exercises, and spend time at the end to wind down gently too.
- Remember that it can be hard to monitor specific participants’ activity in an online environment, so refrain from offering one-to-one guidance or instruction.
- If necessary, modify your routines to eliminate any exercises that may be more likely to cause injury or harm.
- Just as with an in-person class, it is important to make sure that participants understand the risks they are taking on, and have electronically signed a waiver acknowledging they do so willingly. Your standard waiver language is preferable, but sample disclaimer language specifically-designed for virtual classes can also be downloaded here.
This list of considerations is by no means exhaustive, but it should provide a framework for how to offer virtual classes as safely as possible while acknowledging that you have less control over the specific environment in which participants are located.