A positive, can-do attitude can figuratively move mountains. If your idea of a mountain is increasing physical activity, getting fit and maintaining a healthier lifestyle, there is a movement that’s gaining momentum at Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District.
Seniors are part of the vulnerable population, especially now during COVID-19. Having more communication and time with them is essential, but as social distancing and quarantine are put into place, the future of senior care and seniors has started to shift.
While working out at home has become a necessity for many — with gyms closed during the coronavirus pandemic — home fitness had already been trending before quarantines began. Interactive home workout products such as Peloton, Zwift, Mirror and Tonal are changing the fitness landscape. Convenience and safety are two major plusses that these home streaming platforms offer, according to John Mercer, professor and acting chair of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the president of the Las Vegas Triathlon Club. “For cycling, a lot of people are reporting that they just feel safer biking indoors rather than being out on the streets,” Mercer says. “It’s not always easy to find routes to exercise outside that are safe. “You can also do it on your own schedule, and you can probably even be a little more efficient with your time. You don’t have to stop at a light or a stop sign.” Mercer says technological advances have allowed home platforms to offer a more interesting workout experience than home equipment provided in the past. “What’s available now are programs that can control the level of resistance,” he adds. “You can have the resistance changed based on a simulated hill or a different type of road condition. That makes it more fun. “People are also able to reach others on a program like Zwift, where they get on their bikes and have a little bit of competition. You can have virtual races where you upload data from a run or an indoor bike ride. Ironman Triathlon is doing these virtual races and so is the United States Triathlon Association.” Stan Lim, photography manager at the University of California-Riverside, is an avid cycler who has realized some of the benefits of working out at home after moving his rides inside during the pandemic. “All my rides were with groups, usually,” he says. “So, I had to change that. I had a bit of a home cycling studio set up, with a couple different bikes that were basically just collecting dust. I figured now was the time to get it set up. “My daughter is home from college, and Peloton was offering a free 90-day subscription, so I figured I’d set it up. It’s been great riding with my daughter at home.” Lim echoes some of Mercer’s sentiments about the positives of riding at home. “The one thing about being at home is safety,” he says. “I don’t have a chance of getting hit by a car. That’s a big thing. Plus being able to just go in the garage and get a quick workout in, it’s very convenient.” Lim says he had noticed many of his fellow riders gravitating toward virtual workouts before the pandemic. “A lot of my friends started getting into Zwift because there are so many features you can use with that,” he adds. “Especially when the weather isn’t great, everyone was jumping on Zwift and getting their workouts in that way. “I know I’ll continue to do this more even when I’m able to get back to going outside. Especially if I get home late from work and don’t have time to go ride outside, I can just do it at home.” Garrett Borunda, vice president of partnerships and platforms at EGYM, says it is important for gyms to embrace and incorporate technology. EGYM offers three major platforms for gyms to utilize: connected equipment that allows gym customers to set up an account and be offered a customized program each time they return to that machine, apps that allow gyms to communicate with customers and utilize virtual programs, and passes for companies to provide their employees with gym, aquatic club and racquet club memberships. “In general, we all know we need to be healthier,” Borunda says. “We want to push to get out there and exercise. We know it is the right thing to do. But there’s often obstacles in the way. Technology offers us an opportunity to get around those obstacles.” Borunda believes technology can help people get past anxiety that may limit their trips to the gym. “If you’re on your device working out at home, you’re not intimidated by being in the club,” he says. “You’re seeing the progress you’re making right on your device and getting rewarded for it, and with the immense amount of content out there, you’re not going to get bored.”
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