What to do when social distancing stops your group fitness classes

Avatar for Mish Khot By in Coronavirus, COVID-19, fitness at home, Group fitness classes, social distancing, workout on 24/03/2020
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Over the last few weeks, social media has been filled with pictures and videos of people working out at home so that they don’t upset their exercise routine. For all of us, the biggest disruption has been to our work lives followed by our fitness and social lives. If you’ve been missing your group fitness classes, here are some tips on how to recreate them at home.

What you miss: Your workout buddies

Many of us use group fitness classes as a chance to spend time with siblings, best friends, or old friends. Some of us have made new friends in our group fitness class. Having the same interests is the easiest way to strike up a new friendship and you’re bound to miss out on the socializing that group fitness classes give you.

How to replace it: We might be restricted to our houses by the novel coronavirus, but thankfully we haven’t lost our data connections. There are so many ways to stay in touch with your friends and loved ones during social distancing that you won’t have time to miss them. Create a Whatsapp group so you can share your favourite smoothie recipes. Make a phone call to catch up on today’s home session. Do a video call to vent about how bad you feel.

What you miss: The routine of going for a group fitness class

Those of us who maintain an exercise routine appreciate the discipline of having a fixed time to work out. We like knowing that we’ll be in Zumba class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. But when classes are cancelled because of COVID-19, we have to make our own routine.

How to replace it: Set aside the same time and make a space for your workout on Mondays, Wednesdays. Play your favourite workout music, put on your gear and do a full hour of fat-burning, muscle-stretching, strength building activity.

What you miss: Having a trainer to guide you

Working out with a personal trainer is one of the most effective ways to get results, but not everyone can afford one. Signing up for group fitness classes is the closest you can get to having a trainer guide you through your entire workout, and a lot of us miss that when classes are not running.

How to replace it: You could get your workout buddies together and ask your group fitness trainer to share a PDF or a link of all the exercises you can do at home. If that’s not possible, find a Youtube channel with a trainer leading you through your workout.

What you miss: The adrenaline rush of working out in a group

Working out in a group has been found to promote endorphins and keep motivation levels high. For many of us, that’s half the fun of group fitness classes. The friendly peer pressure created by a group fitness class can be incredibly motivating, and it’s natural to miss that.

How to replace it: Recreate the camaraderie of a group workout from the safety of your homes using technology. If your group can set aside a specific time for your workout, you can use video calling to exercise together. Try using Google Hangouts for multi-user fun and you’ll find yourselves cheering each other on just the same as always.

group fitness classes

Some group fitness classes are not possible to replicate at home, like spinning or indoor rock climbing. We might not be able to create the same big space and arrange the lights and music just like your class does. In this case, how about trying something different? Here are some alternatives that you can check out on Youtube and try at home:

  • Switch to a yoga session, where all you really need is a mat and enough space to do your poses.
  • Learn the art of guided meditation for better focus and calm energy.
  • Try a fun dancercise class to get you perspiring.
  • Do a cardio workout with your family.

The benefits of group fitness classes

Group fitness classes have immense benefits especially for beginners or those who need an extra boost of motivation. Here are some of the biggest benefits:

You’ll make new friends: In an exercise class, you’ll meet people with at least one thing in common with you: being fitter and enjoying a sport together.

You’re more likely to attend: A fitness class makes you answerable to your workout buddies and to your trainer. You’ll find it harder to skip class when you know you’ll be asked the next time why you didn’t show up.

Group fitness classes are more fun: Some people like working out alone for the quiet me-time. But if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like working out or finds it harder to get motivated, having a fun atmosphere makes it easier. Most group classes play loud music and feel like a big party, with a trainer who shouts out encouragement and instructions.

You’ll have more guidance: If you’re a workout newbie, joining a group class might be a good idea to begin with. Your trainer will be watching you, providing instructions on form and posture, and will offer motivation and encouragement.

In a time like this when we’re all staying home so that we can “flatten the curve”, it’s important to find ways to recreate everything that you love about your life. Avaana says stay home and stay safe.

Avatar for Mish Khot

Mishana Khot is a fiction author and co-founder of The Great Next, an adventure travel company. She has been featured in National Geographic, Forbes magazine, and other publications, and has over 15 years of experience with health, travel, and lifestyle brands.

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