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Alternate in-home workouts help maintain wellness with gyms and studios closed

Vicki Schelstraete changes the weight on her barbell during an at home workout in Toronto on Thursday, March 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
March 19, 2020 - 2:45 PM

The recent closure of gyms and yoga/pilates studios has forced people to get creative in their pursuit of wellness.

Working out at home has become the go-to option for many as they try to stay fit — both physically and mentally — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toronto resident Vicki Schelstraete, who worked out regularly at a local CrossFit location before its indefinite closure, created a makeshift setup in her townhouse to stay active.

The gym owner allowed clients to rent equipment and even delivered some gear to Schelstraete herself.

"I've got the plates, I've got drop pads, a set of barbells, a kettlebell and then I have my own weighted vest," Schelstraete said Thursday. "So I've basically brought the gym into my living room.

"It was just a matter of shoving back the furniture and moving that in."

Replicating the usual workout experience is obviously difficult in a residential setting. The goal for Schelstraete was to simply "make do" and maintain a basic training level.

It's a challenge facing many Canadians who are looking for indoor alternatives as they try to stay healthy during these challenging times.

"It's a top priority," Schelstraete said. "Being so active and going to the gym basically every day — to lose that, is a lot."

Creativity can be key. Look no further than Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka, who has been posting a variety of video clips on Twitter in recent days.

Members of the NBA team have been in self-isolation since playing the Utah Jazz last week.

Ibaka has posted clips of himself working out at his residence, doing lunges, abdominal work on the floor and some lateral movements. In one post captioned 'Cardio day at home,' he simply jogged from one end of his long hallway to the other.

Two players from the Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. The Raptors have since tested negative for the virus, but were staying in isolation nonetheless.

"Sending love and positivity to everyone staying at home during this health crisis," Ibaka said in a recent tweet. "I hope some of you feel inspired to exercise at home and to stay healthy and in shape!"

Staying active with some kind of physical activity can be a welcome distraction from the heavy flow of negative news on TV, social media and other outlets.

A variety of apps and YouTube videos are available in every discipline imaginable. But the interaction and community feeling within many gyms and studios can be a big part of the workout experience.

"It is strange," said Schelstraete, a freelance producer and art director. "When you're doing a CrossFit class, it's having people around you to keep you going and encourage you. So that part is definitely lacking but you do what you can.

"As long as I keep moving, I'm more than happy."

Toronto-based yoga and meditation teacher Jenny Nicol created a studio setting in her apartment this week and posts live classes on her Instagram feed.

Nicol said she had a great response from contacts and friends to her initial broadcast Wednesday. She planned to continue with classes to help people move together.

"Everyone is just kind of bored with Netflix, bored with cleaning their house. You've tidied now, it's been a few days," she said. "Looking for maybe the connection and the community more than anything else and certainly to move your body and feel active and empowered."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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