As the temperature begins to drop and the leaves begin to turn, we are reminded the harsh days of winter are fast approaching. In order to savor the last few weeks of warmth, MIT Recreational Sports is offering several mind/body classes outside.
“We have one athletic field that we utilize,” said Karissa Bollinger, the assistant fitness director at MIT. “Then one day a week we have access to our MIT Sailing Pavilion, which is where they take the sail boats out on the Charles River. It is outdoors by the water, with a nice view of the Boston Skyline.”
MIT Recreational Sports has been offering outdoor classes for a few summers now — weather permitting of course. “A lot of our participants spend so much time indoors, at their desks, in their labs, so they are itching to enjoy the nice weather,” she said. “This was an easy way to allow them to get their workout in, but also enjoy the weather. We had a lot of requests from patrons who wanted to do more classes outside. Since it was so doable for us, we decided to put them officially on the schedule, which drew a lot of attention to those classes.
According to Bollinger, there are a few challenges when it comes to offering these classes outside — mostly regarding equipment. “I would say transferring of equipment to and from was the biggest challenge,” she explained. “Participants would have to stop in the studio to grab the equipment they needed, and then take it outdoors which would eat into class time a little but. But I don’t think it was enough to deter anyone from coming because it is such a unique offering.”
Another challenges is of course the weather, but Bollinger explained that they would leave the decision of whether or not to go outside up to the participants. This is where communication is also key. If there was a change in the location due to weather issues, it is important to communicate that with members.
“Trying to contact the roster if there was a change to the schedule was somewhat challenging,” said Bollinger. “If we did have a location change when we were at the Sailing Pavilion, it was hard to make everyone aware of that. When we starting to launch these classes at the Sailing Pavilion, there were a few people who were out of the loop and didn’t show up to the right place, but people caught on and it worked out.”
When offering classes outside or in a unique location, you can never be too detailed. Bollinger said it is imperative to give the participants all the information they need. Where will the class be located? At what time should they arrive? What equipment do they need to bring? What should they expect? Cover all of your bases.