Combat workout doldrums and get active in our city’s core through Downtown Spokane Partnership’s free series of outdoor workout classes this summer. Designed to give locals and visitors of all fitness levels a chance to appreciate our downtown area and try something new in the (urban) outdoors, these classes will be offered beginning July 9 through the end of August on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 7:15 p.m. at the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place (353-367 N. Post St., between Riverfront and Huntington parks).
The workout series has expanded since it was first offered by the Downtown Spokane Partnership a few years ago, says Elisabeth Hooker, Downtown Spokane Partnership’s marketing and programming manager. There’s little something for everyone, with barre on Mondays (offered by Pure Barre), yoga on Wednesdays (offered by The Union), and various cardio classes, like kickboxing and Zumba, on Thursdays (offered by the Spokane Club). People of all skill levels are encouraged to attend. “Last year there were some intense, intense cardio classes, which I loved—but we’re going to go a little easier on people this year,” says Hooker with a laugh. Thanks to sponsorship by Numerica Credit Union, there is no charge for participants.
Jackie Allen attended several of these classes last summer. “The outdoor setting was fabulous,” she says. “With our hot summers it was very nice to exercise in cooling temps.” She also appreciated the chance to spend time in a revitalized part of downtown, overlooking the falls and ideally situated for amazing sunset views. “It was free, near the falls, outdoors in the waning daylight…it was kind of magical,” she says. She liked that the setting, with a large, flat area and cement benches, made it easy to see instructors—which can sometimes be a challenge outside of a typical class environment. Allen recommends coming early, as some of these classes were quite popular. “It was very full last year—‘well attended,’ shall we say.”
The timing and location mean classes are easy to get to after work, or to check out before or after dinner, a movie, or window shopping downtown. They could also be paired with a trip to the Kendall Yards Night Market on Wednesdays or a stroll through Riverfront Park. Plus, with their after-7:00 start time, there is no charge at the meters for street parking.
Hooker recommends wearing appropriate shoes for concrete, as well as toting in a towel or gloves to handle a workout outside. Bring a water bottle, and bring a yoga mat for yoga classes if you can (there are some available to borrow if needed). Children are invited to attend alongside a supervising adult. “Kids are more than welcome to come,” Hooker says, noting that there will be hula hoops and jump ropes available to use. In the event of inclement weather, cancellations will be posted on Downtown Spokane Partnership’s Facebook page.
These classes “are a great way to interact with different people,” says Hooker. “And it’s amazing that it’s free!” With workouts designed to be accessible for a range of experience levels, “it’s a really welcoming setting. It’s super supportive,” says Hooker. “We want to make it accessible to introduce people in an easy way to an activity they might be a little tentative to try. If you’ve never done yoga, or barre, or Zumba, hopefully we can get you hooked on it because it’s both fun and good for you,” she says.
Allen says it’s definitely worth trying out a class and taking advantage of another of our city’s unique opportunities to be active alongside our fellow Spokanites. “All in all it was a lovely Spokane active community experience,” she says. “It made me happy inside, like a Bloomsday or Hoopfest day. Spokane at its best!” //
Sarah Hauge lives in Spokane with her husband and two daughters, and will be taking advantage of longer days with plenty of early-morning runs this summer. She wrote about new happenings at Riverfront Park in the June issue.
[Feature photo: Outdoor workouts // Derrick Knowles]