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Virtual Exercise Programs Expand Participation

Mariya Ryemyen (left), instructor and KleinLife athletic director, with virtual exercise participants, Dora (top) and Resa (bottom)

Before the pandemic, KleinLife’s senior exercise program was full of life. With 30 participants attending each of the 23 classes held per week, seniors with a wide variety of skill levels and interests found their fitness home with us. So, when KleinLife was forced to close in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew that we had to find a way to continue to offer this programming while keeping our seniors safe. Mariya Ryemyen, KleinLife athletic director, rose to the occasion and put together a virtual exercise schedule.

When Mariya rolled out KleinLife’s first exercise program in April, she made clear that accessibility was a number one priority. “To participate, all they need is a healthy attitude and lots of space to exercise,” she said. “We have no limitations for physical stature, anyone can join. All they really need is a bottle of water, a towel, and a chair.” Over time, these varied and scalable classes grew from 13 seniors signed up at the outset to 80 people tuning in by August.

Seniors are thrilled with KleinLife’s Zumba, yoga, and other gentle exercise offerings. “I’m thrilled that there are online classes,” wrote Resa, one of our seniors, in her feedback about the program. “It always makes me feel better to work out. Gives you a reason to get up in the morning.” Dora agreed, saying “it helps us feel better, more energetic, and less depressed in this pandemic time. We feel that you care about us.”

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