For a combination of expertise and scheduling convenience, a personal trainer’s service certainly can be a solid investment. On the other hand, who says you have to join a gym or buy passes at a studio to get in a variety of great workouts every single week?
If you’re clever and flexible, you can do it all, not pay a penny, reap the fitness rewards and make lots of new, like-minded friends. There are free cardio and strength-training classes, running and cycling groups and yoga classes happening almost daily in the 405, and it’s no accident.
“We’ve brought all of our wellness grantees together and developed an organization called the Wellness Alliance,” says Sally Ray, community programs manager for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “It’s made up of nonprofits, clubs, the city of Oklahoma City’s Parks and Recreation Department and others, like Metro Technology Centers and Integris Hospitals.
“We know that Oklahoma ranks poorly when it comes to health outcomes. We struggle with obesity, smoking and nutrition,” she says. “The trustees here at the Community Foundation decided we need to do more than offer grants, we need to play a role – and establishing the Wellness Alliance, which we hope will become self-sustaining at some point, was the best way we could think of to get potential collaborators together in the same room. We’re very excited about it.”
One of the grantees, Metro Technology Centers, has introduced MetroFit free community classes. They’re offered in 12-week chunks, and registration is required.
Valerie McMurry-Hopkins, Metro Technology Centers’ wellness coordinator, said the community initiative sprang naturally from programming already in place for employees. “The Northeast Oklahoma City community’s health statistics are among the poorest in the state of Oklahoma; Metro Tech made the decision to invite the community to join our programs that were already funded for the employees.”
It’s been a huge success, with some 300 people of all ages and fitness levels joining in the free fun. Enrollment for the next batch starts June 20.
Lululemon Athletica’s Classen Curve location has been a free workout hotspot since it opened three years ago.
“Every month, we pick a studio, gym or CrossFit box of the month and offer them space in the store to hold free community classes every Saturday at 9 a.m. We keep our Facebook page updated with what’s coming up each week,” says community team leader Hillary McLain. Expect to find yoga, Pilates, body-weight exercise classes or weighted fitness classes, all of which are open to anyone 18 or older. If you choose to shop after class, that’s on you.
Meegan Holman, owner of Commit Nutrition in Norman, will offer a thrice-weekly, low-impact fit camp designed for people looking for a more entry-level, body-weight workout, perfect for knee and joint issues, or for those wishing to lose a substantial amount of weight. Her classes start Aug. 1.
Yogis can get their asanas moving at classes offered from Blanchard to Edmond and from Yukon to Shawnee by one of the many Yoga in the Park (YIP) groups. YIP community yoga programs are run by volunteers in parks and other public spaces, and although they welcome donations, participants need never feel pressured to pay a single dollar … ever. The YIP mission is to be a free yoga outreach program for the community.
Runners and cyclists, or people who would like to become runners or cyclists, can join in the many free group bike rides and runs offered by shops such as Schlegel Bicycles, Charley’s Bicycle Lab and Red Coyote Running and Fitness.
Investing in your health is never a bad idea, but cash isn’t the only form of investment – a little time and effort can be more than enough to get you moving in the right direction.
► Get the Skinny on Free Workouts in the 405
Lululemon Athletica – facebook.com/lululemonOklahomaCity
Metro Technology Centers MetroFit – metrotech.edu/metrofit
Red Coyote Running and Fitness – redcoyoterunning.com
runhers – runhers.com
Yoga in the Park – facebook.com/YIPOklahoma
Schlegel Bicycles – schlegelbicycles.com
Charley’s Bicycle Lab – charleysbicyclelab.com
Commit Nutrition – firstname.lastname@example.org