Wentworth-Created Fitness Classes Launch on Social Media and YouTube

April 3, 2020

(Left) A Gentle Wind Down Yoga class with Carley Bowering and a (right) workout of the day with Taylor Parmenter

With people across the world staying home, drastically altering their regular routines, Wentworth’s Fitness and Recreation (FitRec) is providing a piece of normalcy to daily life.

Group fitness classes are going live on Instagram and being posted to YouTube, the #fitrecchallenge has been established, walking and “couch to 5k” programs are underway, and videos showing how to do certain exercises are being created. All of it is being conducted by Wentworth FitRec staff and students.

Michael Williams, director of fitness and recreation, believes that staying physically active during anxious times is especially important. For years, FitRec has partnered with the Center for Wellness on the “Move for Mental Health” program, which enhances the benefits of counseling with movement classes.

“Movement and exercise can help lower rates of anxiety and depressive symptoms because physical activity releases neurotransmitters that can help boost our mood, reduce stress and improve overall cognition,” he says. “My best advice to anyone is to just keep moving, however you can.  Whether it is taking an online class, or just taking a walk outside, it can be so beneficial.”

Every Monday through Thursday, classes are being hosted on FitRec’s Instagram account, and then archived on YouTube. Offerings include:

  • Vinyasa Flow with Carley
  • Metabolic Mash with Taylor
  • Suppertime Crunch with Heather
  • Gentle Wind Down Yoga with Carley

Instructors are also posting “workout of the day” videos and the walking program entails reporting your tracked steps from a phone or pedometer to FitRec, who will then add up the tallies of Wentworth, MCPHS and Mass Art participants. The #fitrecchallenges ask social media users to look for periodic fitness challenges that pop up.

“I’m super grateful that our instructors were willing step into their own discomfort to hold these classes online,” says Williams, adding that they were being recorded for the first time. “They have done an amazing job and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Williams does admit that he misses the face-to-face interactions with folks who come through the Schumann Fitness Center, particularly graduating seniors who work on his team.

“Whether it’s the early morning faculty and staff who I see bright and early, or our students as they come through for their daily routine,” he says. “I’ll even admit that I miss hearing them drop their weights. We’ve worked hard to build a community in our fitness center.”

He also notes that a lack of commute for many means there is extra reason to try an at-home fitness class.

“Many of us have lost access to something that we call N.E.A.T. in the fitness industry, which is non-exercise activity thermogenesis,” he says. “We no longer are walking to the bus or the subway, or walking between buildings on campus for lunch or meetings, or walking from the parking lot to the office. This movement does add up.”

Given the circumstances, though, Williams believes that virtual workout options are a great way to stay connected to the community and aid one’s health. He notes that the classes are all levels and that no special equipment is needed. Instructors, it should be noted, are teaching from the safety of their own homes.

“If you are new to an activity routine, now is a great time to start!  Even if it is a scheduled walk once per day, build a routine,” he says. “Hopefully, when normalcy begins to return, that routine will stick. 

If you have a routine already and are worried about losing gains because of a lack of access to your gym, Williams believes you need not worry. 

“Your muscles, like your brain, are built on memory,” he says. “Whatever losses you may experience, which will be minimal, they will come back quickly.”

A full list of classes, including descriptions, can be found online.

--Greg Abazorius

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