Stay Fit, but Stay Home: How to Safely Train During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There is a rhythm to training. What seems hard at first becomes more than habit the more you do it. At some point, you reach a place where you can’t imagine missing a day of training at the gym. Or it may be that you need to get in shape for the summer running season or next winter’s ski season. But suddenly everything has come to a halt.
With gyms, fitness centers, and rec centers shut down from COVID-19 concerns, is there a way to still train and be safe? The answer is yes.
Denise Druce has been a fitness instructor, student, and now instructor of instructors for 40 years. For 20 of those years, she’s owned and operated health clubs with her husband, Michael Druce. “I’ve worn spandex to work every day, making a living out of doing what I love and keeping people healthy,” Denise says.
During the last 20 years, she’s gravitated to yoga, finding it a good workout for “an aging body.” She trains yoga teachers through her school, Yoga Assets. A lifelong learner, Denise figures she’s earned every single industry certification—along with working with thousands of people over the years.
Denise sees the current isolation as a chance to try new things and make new healthy habits. “Go to bed at a decent hour, wake up at a decent hour, eat healthier, and try some of the things you always wished you had time to try,” she says.
Staying active can also help manage stress, which can be a killer. “Whatever is happening with the body’s immune system, stress makes it worse,” Denise says. “A strong immune system comes from working out.”
So what are the options?
A great place to start is going outside. It’s completely safe to go outside as long as you fly solo and avoid groups (meaning you maintain six feet of distance). Just breathing fresh air instead of the stale air in your cooped up spaces at home can make a difference. Go for a walk, a jog, a run, or a hike. Bonus: take your dog along.
Michael loves the Starmaster at the gym but found an alternative at Sugar House Park. He takes a spin around the park and then sprints up the hills to get the same workout as when he’s on the Stairmaster. He also stops and does some pushups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. Many local parks have built-in fitness trails with equipment to work your whole body.
If the weather keeps you home, Denise suggests pulling out old exercise equipment that’s just gathering dust. Pull out the treadmills, the bands you bought on TV, the kettlebells, and get to work.
There are plenty of free online platforms, apps, or YouTube videos if you want to follow along with an instructor. “Since you are home anyway, now is the time to dedicate to those workouts people always say they don’t have time for,” says Denise, “No more excuses.”
There’s also an at-home solution for instructors. Denise didn’t want to miss out on teaching so did something Micahel had been urging her to for years. She set up an online class on Zoom and teaches people all over the company who join on their computers or phones.
She can fill 100 spots each session, and all she has to do is set up a webcam and microphone. Zoom allows participants to comment, and unless they black out their screen, she can see everyone’s face a la a Brady Bunch-style.
While the gyms remain shuttered, there are still opportunities to stay healthy, continue to train, and stay active. Just step outside your door, and remember the six-foot rule.
Where to Find Fitness Classes Online
Denise’s Warrior Wednesday Yoga Zoom class
Class taught by Denise Druce.
Offering all-levels yoga classes.
Offering online classes for $25 a month with discounts for members.
Offering free 20, 30, and 60-minute classes on-demand and some streaming classes.
Offering online pilates classes.
Offering online “Sweat, Strength and Soul” classes and livestream classes.