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MailTribune.com
  • The Great Indoors

    With the skies still posing potential health risks, inside activities get a boost
  • Just because it hurts to breathe outside does not mean Rogue Valley residents are taking the summer off from exercising.
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  • Just because it hurts to breathe outside does not mean Rogue Valley residents are taking the summer off from exercising.
    Those wanting to stay physically fit are taking their games indoors in growing numbers, according to Brad Russell, executive director of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA.
    "We are definitely seeing more people come to the YMCA to get out of the smoke," Russell said. "It's good that people are aware of the smoke levels and are staying healthy."
    Russell said the YMCA has had to juggle its summer schedule to stay one step ahead of the smoky air, caused by five wildfires burning in southwestern Oregon since July 26.
    When air quality plummeted to hazardous levels earlier this month, the YMCA was forced to cancel some outdoor activities and move others indoors.
    "We host events at the high schools, which are less than a mile away, and we had parents who didn't want their children walking short distances," Russell said. "So we do our best to keep the kids healthy."
    The Department of Environmental Quality reported that Medford's air quality on Friday hovered in the "moderate" zone, meaning exercising outdoors probably wouldn't leave healthy people doubled over trying to suck in enough air.
    This did not stop Cindy and Lyle Cobb from spending the afternoon at the YMCA's indoor pool playing water basketball with their two grandchildren.
    Cindy Cobb said the family originally planned a camping adventure at Lost Creek Lake, but the grungy air put the kibosh on that.
    "I have asthma, so I can't be out in this smoke," she said.
    She sat at thw pool's edge as her husband and the grandkids horsed around in the water.
    The goal is to not keep the kids cooped up indoors all summer, she said.
    "There's things to do," she said. "You just can't stay inside all summer."
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