With Insights into The Future of Exercise!
On an average day in College Park, Maryland I typically walk between 10,000 and 20,000 steps on my college campus. When my university made the switch to virtual classes for the remainder of the semester and I came back to New York, I did not think I was going to miss walking from class to class as much as I did. For me, staying fit while at home has been all about walking with my family, friends (socially distanced, of course) and even by myself. Doing this allows me to recreate the feeling I have when I’m walking on campus and also gives me peace of mind and time to reflect.
Here are some of the ways other Northern Westchester residents have been staying fit… read on too on for insight on why some fitness enthusiasts aim to continue with online options while others say they are ready to go back to the gym.
Right now, gyms are offering virtual workout sessions through Zoom to keep members connected with the health club and each other.
One of the ways Chappaqua resident Jeff Samberg has been exercising is logging on to Adina Olan-Ellick’s Breathe Pilates and yoga classes.
“It’s so convenient. I roll out of bed and within five minutes, I am working out in front of the screen in a class, then five minutes after that I can be on a conference call,” said Samberg.
Marcia Heitlinger and her husband belong to Lifetime Fitness. One of their favorite instructors is holding a zoom class on weekdays and Sundays at 6:30 am. The instructor asks for donations through Venmo which she then passes on to the Westchester food bank.
“These Zoom classes are great because they are early enough where I can get the workout in before I do work for the day,” said Heitlinger.
Kristen Acosta’s main source of exercise during this time has been Zoom classes with her instructor, Lisa Gagliardi.
“There are over 70 people that Zoom in to take her class. She has done amazing things to keep our workout community connected.”
Tamara Leopold and her husband are members of Immortal Fitness in Pleasantville and have also been using Zoom to stay in shape. She said owner Tommy Carter maintains the gym community through three Zoom classes everyday excluding Sundays. Carter and his team pre-record the workouts the night before they release them so members of Immortal Fitness can have the classes on demand.
“If you can’t watch them live, you can still do them on your own,” said Leopold.
The Peloton app is a way people are staying in shape. The company offered a 90-day free trial giving people who were interested access to all their classes ranging from strength training to yoga to cardio and cycling.
Leopold said that they use a traditional spin bike paired with Peloton app as a way to take classes. She also enjoys their weight and yoga classes.
Heather Hecht also loves the accessibility and range of classes the app offers. She completed the 4-week “crush your core” program and when she finds the time she takes anywhere from a 30 to 45-minute yoga class.
Heitlinger also enjoys the yoga feature on the Peloton app. She even will meet up with a friend to do a socially distanced yoga session led by instructors on the app.
USING GYM EQUIPMENT AT HOME
Like the Peloton app, people have also been using a Peloton bike.
Hecht said previous to the stay-at-home orders, she used the Peloton bike in her house mainly on snow days or vacation days when she did not leave the house as much. However, the occasional ride has turned much more frequent as she has found creative ways to make the workout fun.
“With ‘everyone’ riding and the new hashtags, I have joined groups in town. We follow each other, favorite teachers and offer motivation. It keeps it fun,” said Hecht.
Heitlinger and her husband created a gym in one of the rooms in their home. Before gym closures, the room had a spin bike in it. Now, they added a set of weights, rubber mats and a bench.
Living in suburbs, there is the advantage of being able to spend active time outside.
In addition to the online classes through Breathe, Samberg has been riding a bike outdoors.
Heitlinger has also been spending time outside and finding ways to safely do so with others. Once a week, she does a socially distanced run with one of her friends.
Hecht has also been taking advantage of the sunshine and returned to the tennis courts outdoors to play singles with her hitting partner.
“It’s definitely great to be back on the courts and they are being super cautious,” said Hecht.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF EXERCISE LOOK LIKE?
The bottom line is that there is a mixed reaction to today’s status quo.
Some people don’t necessarily miss the gym; they may enjoy the time and cost savings and may continue to feel safer staying fit without leaving their homes. Options outside the traditional club memberships satisfy many so they are starting to opt-out, at least temporarily.
Samberg said he recently gave his gym the notice that he would not be returning when they reopen.
“I have been able to get everything I need at home, this has changed my perspective. For smaller studios I plan to go back because I think they can be contained and sanitized and healthy,” said Samberg.
Then there are those who are interested in working out in classes and groups in proximity to live humans, so they are looking forward to getting back to the gyms. They also are bracing themselves for the changes.
“I would like to go to the gym after this, I am a big class person, so I’m a little worried, I do hot yoga and I would love for it to happen again but I do not know if it will,” said Heitlinger.
Yet others are also ready to be adaptable to changes gyms will make when they reopen whether that is smaller classes or stricter guidelines.
“I look forward to going back whatever capacity that is in. We miss being inside the four walls of the gym,” said Leopold.
Also, people are missing the sense of community that is found within a gym. Although health club owners are working hard at maintaining relations with and between members, there is something different about working out with others in person.
“I look forward to the day that I can walk back into my gym and see everyone’s faces. Although I feel connected with everyone from home, there is nothing like that in person, face to face, interaction,” said Acosta.