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YMCA of the Twin Cities Delivers Smart Fitness Through the Apple Watch


The YMCA of the Twin Cities has launched an innovative program to bring smart, wearable fitness capabilities to its members. Any member with an Apple Watch can now sync the device with YMCA MN — the Twin Cities Y’s mobile app — granting access to a wide variety of programs and services.

“We have the first connected facility in the country — we’ve been working on this for quite a while,” said Glen Gunderson, the president and CEO of the Twin Cities Y. “Now, you can walk into any one of our branches and pay for membership, reserve certain programs, and even connect to a treadmill or elliptical — all through the Apple Watch.”

In addition, YMCA MN allows members to join fitness challenges, experience faster check-ins, find workout classes, pick a workout plan to follow, and track progress during workouts. “You can view your heart rate data, distance, and other quantified elements you’d want to have synced there,” explained Gunderson.

Beyond just convenience, the most impactful element of YMCA MN is a program called “Move for Good.” As members workout, progressing through certain activity levels during fitness challenges helps the Twin Cities Y offer beneficial services for youth in the community.

“Your workout progress is being converted to help send kids to camp, send kids through Youth and Government, enable young people to participate in a health event, or help with some other type of good service,” shared Gunderson. “The real value [of the app], in my opinion, is in Move for Good.”

According to Gunderson, Move for Good is the perfect way to simultaneously get members active and deliver positive outcomes for local youth. “It’s this double entendre — you get to move and make your life better, and as you move, you’re also delivering social capital, or social good, to your community,” he said.

And as the YMCA of the Twin Cities continues to evolve and develop new services for members, YMCA MN is just the beginning. “These kinds of innovations will continue,” he said. “The service will continue to roll out across our branches, and we’re hopeful we’ll get several other Ys across the country to adopt a similar concept.”

Click here to learn more about this innovative program.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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