TULSA, Okla. — A new set of machines at the Tandy Family YMCA in midtown Tulsa is meant to help people needing to exercise feel more confident about working out in a public setting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
YMCA of Greater Tulsa Vice President Kyle Wilkes said gym attendance is down nationwide because people don’t feel that just turning off every other machine is good enough to protect them from COVID when working out at a gym facility. The usual crowd of people going to the gym this time of year to try to lose weight and get in shape as part of a New Years resolution are at historic lows, he said.
“People envision that they’ll be stacked on top of each other with treadmills or with weight equipment but the reality is things look much different,” Wilkes told FOX23 on Friday.
The 11 new eGym machines each work out a different part of the body just like a personal trainer would, but there isn’t a human up in your face doing the training. The machines are also properly spaced out, and they are synced up together on workout routine times to make sure all users can get in repetitions, have time to clean their machine, and then rotate to the next one to work on another body part. Users are given wrist bands with an access chip in it that leads to a personalized profile that is programmed for their needs and specific body type down to their height and weight and even arm and leg length.
The machines themselves have computers that will automatically move your seat and the gear into a proper position for you to use them most effectively, and the weights are digital magnets, so users never have to mess with moving pins and adding and subtracting weights.
The Tandy Family YMCA is one of only two places in Oklahoma with this equipment. The other is the Northside YMCA in Oklahoma City. Wilkes said the YMCA intentionally set out to find safer and more efficient machines, especially because people who used to come to the YMCA for exercises recommended to them by a doctor are too afraid to do a work out that could actually extend and improve their quality of life.
“We knew it was important for people to come in and have an opportunity to safely work out so we had to make some quick decisions,” Wilkes said when talking about having to also invest in new computer servers to help store user data and power the machines. He went on to say that as a non-profit, it was important for them to provide a better service and remove, space out, and even replace machines then try to cram as many people back into the building and call it safe.
“People’s health and wellness needs, just because we’re in a pandemic, they don’t decrease. They increase if anything else, and so we need to be able to provide that environment and structure for them to be able to be healthy and focus on their goals,” he said.
Because everything is synced up, no one should be standing around waiting for a machine to open up, and if the machines become extremely popular, the YMCA will look into setting up reservation times for 11 people at a time, so no one is simply standing around breathing and doing nothing.