The warmer months are a great time to get out and get moving! But as the temperatures start to cool and the sun sets a little earlier each night, that motivation can wane.
“Fall is an important time to form good exercise habits before winter arrives,” says Kimberly Lowell, CMC Wellness & Risk Reduction Specialist. “It is essential, especially as we get older, to maintain strength and functional movement all throughout the year.”
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is the pivot to virtual—well—everything. At CMC, Lowell quickly moved as many fitness classes as she could to Zoom. Many participants continue to take virtual classes more than two years later.
“I absolutely love it,” says Pat Kalik of Manchester. “Sometimes, I do three classes a day.”
Classes are offered six days a week with start times ranging from 6AM to 6:30PM and include gentle yoga, seated strength/cardio, barre, barre for active agers, low impact cardio, tai chi and strength classes.
Kalik started taking classes at the urging of her friend, Arlene Fishbein, who retired five years ago. She started adding more classes to her schedule, “and then COVID hit. Kim (Lowell) sent out an email asking if anyone would be interested in trying virtual and I thought, ‘why not?’ Then she kept expanding the opportunities and I had the time. As result I got a flavor of a lot of different things.”
In addition to the variety of classes offered, these women enjoy the convenience of virtual fitness.
“One of the biggest advantages is that I can take more classes,” says Colleen Lang of Manchester. “I don’t think I’d go out for three or four. It’s easier in my home.” Plus, she says, “In the winter we didn’t have to reschedule any snow days. I can do it on vacation too.”
Lowell has structured all of the classes to focus on form so that participants still get all of the benefits of exercise while being remote.
“Learning proper form during exercise will help prevent risk of injury and also teaches our body how to move safely throughout the workout but also during our daily activities,” says Lowell. “Learning to honor your body and what’s it’s capable for that day is also something that’s important to teach. You may wake up with sore knees and it’s important to listen to your body and not push it to prevent the risk of injury. I always give options in my classes to be able to do the workouts but in a safe and effective way.”
Most participants do miss the social aspect of being in a class together, so Lowell started regular outdoor walks. “It’s really nice to see the people that I’ve met through these classes,” says Fishbein. “I do try on those walks to walk with different people and socialize.”
While Lowell plans to bring back in-person fitness classes, she also plans to keep a virtual option, to the delight of her students.
“It changed my exercise life,” says Kalik. “I plan to keep doing online classes, especially the 6 AM. The only thing I would like to see is more classes!”
Check our our September class offerings!
In the photo: Kim Lowell (kneeling) with fitness class members at a recent walk in Manchester.