The COVID-19 pandemic caused departments across the city to think of creative ways to continue programs and services, and the City of Houston Wellness Team’s CityFit program was no different.
To find a solution to the new social distancing guidelines and the Stay Home, Work Safe advisory that would also fit employees’ wellness needs, the Wellness Team worked with their CityFit partner to introduce their Virtual CityFit program in May.
Since June, participation numbers have increased for the virtual program, compared to traditional onsite CityFit classes.
“Traditional onsite classes averaged just over 8 participants per class, citywide,” said Sean Small, a senior public health educator for the Wellness team.
“The virtual program boasts almost double that amount with over 15 participants per class.”
The free classes offered are the 15-Minute “At Your Desk” Workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon; the 60-Minute Cardio/Strength Workout on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm; and the 60-Minute Yoga Workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays also at 6pm.
The virtual workouts allow employees to participate from their desks or at home in effort to stay active during these unique times.
“Our most popular class is the 15-minute “At Your Desk” Workout, with over 24 participants per class,” Small said.
“Employees enjoy this workout because it is challenging but can be done at their workspace, providing them with an opportunity to be active in the middle of the workday.”
Montecella Flaniken, an adjudication hearing officer with the city’s Municipal Courts, attended CityFit’s line dancing and cardio mix classes before the pandemic.
Since CityFit went virtual, she has attended all of the offered classes at least once.
“I prefer the live classes because of the comradery, but the instructors did a great job with the virtual,” said Flaniken of the exercise cues and encouragement instructors offered during classes.
According to Small, the least popular class is the Cardio/Strength Workout, however for Flaniken, that has been her favorite class.
“My favorite class whether live or virtual, was the cardio mix. The 15-minute lunchtime class was a good workout as well."
"The instructors did a great job with giving modification options for varying exercise levels,” Flaniken said.
Though still drawing good participation, the Wellness Team is looking to bolster the Cardio/Strength Workout during the upcoming series by shortening and focusing the time, which will allow participants more time for other things in the evening.
Additionally, the popular 15-minute “At Your Desk” Workout will be expanded from three to five days per week.
“I’ve attended the classes and they were wonderful! So convenient to do at home or anywhere and I liked the challenge,” said Cynthia Jimenez, a system support analyst for the city’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department.
“The variety was good as well. I wish the recordings would have lasted longer.”
Employees can access the workouts up to 48 hours after each live class. Pre-registration is required for each class you want to attend.
Visit the HR Wellness Program page for more information on all City of Houston Wellness programs including virtual CityFit class descriptions and to access the registration page.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining a virtual class.