No gym, no problem: 5 ways to stay active without leaving your home

With gyms shut down and health officials telling Islanders to stay home, you may be thinking it's as good a time as any to stick to the couch. Think again.

P.E.I. trainers, yoga instructors posting free online classes to keep Islanders healthy at home

While gyms are closed down, there are still plenty of ways to exercise at home. (Getty Images)

With gyms shut down, and health officials telling Islanders to stay home, you may be thinking it's as good a time as any to stick to the couch.  But Shawn Francis, a personal trainer in Charlottetown, says exercise is more important now than ever. 

"Most people are unsettled with the uncertainty of what is taking place right now," said Francis. "I believe if you can keep your body moving, it will allow your mind to be healthier."

That's why Francis is part of a long list of Island trainers, fitness instructors, and wellness groups trying to make it easy for Islanders to stay active during this ongoing pandemic, moving their fitness classes from the gym to the computer screen, all at a cost of zero dollars. 

So, just what options do you have to keep fit from the comfort of your home?  Here are just a few of the many on offer from Islanders: 

1. Go! Live at Home

The community group Go P.E.I. has lined up several instructors to lead daily online video classes, streamed live on the group's Facebook page, then available to view any time.  And there's something for just about everyone — from yoga and strength training to cardio and senior's fitness. 

"I know it's a problem for everybody working from home these days," said Valerie Vuillemot, executive director with Recreation PEI.

"It might be kind of a fun thing for parents to do with their kids.… It might even be an opportunity for somebody who is a little hesitant about going to a class and they want to try it out first. They can now do it at home."

The group has started posting its weekly schedule right on the Facebook page

2.  Yoga anyone? 

Whether you're a hardcore yogi, or think a little stretching and breathing might be just what the doctor ordered, several Island yoga instructors have stepped up to help.  

Erika Killam, who runs 3eYoga in Charlottetown, is among them. She's started streaming free sessions from her home.  And if you really want to feel like you're part of a class, you can plop your yoga mat in front of a webcam too.  

"I decided to offer interactive online Zoom classes instead of just posting videos because it's so important for us to have ways to connect with each other at this time," said Killam.

"As a yoga instructor, I find it imperative to know what's going on with the group of people you are teaching and this will give me a chance to at least see how they're doing before guiding them through a class."

Killam says the classes are accessible to all levels. You can find them on the 3eYoga and Charlottetown Yoga Space Facebook pages.

3. CrossFit at home

For those keen to really break a sweat, get ready for a daily dose of online CrossFit — routines that combine aerobics, weightlifting, interval training and other exercises. 

MIke Ives, co-owner of CrossFit 782, said while it sounds intense, he plans to make the live video sessions as accessible as possible. 

"Anyone can do it. We will have instructions that everyone can follow," said Ives. "We are doing the sessions to keep our members active and healthy. But if others can benefit as well that is a big positive."

Ives said he plans to release the day's workout instructions in the morning, then to stream a live online class from the CrossFit 782 Facebook page at 5 p.m. each evening. 

He said some routines do require minimal equipment. 

4.  Fitness classes for all

P.E.I. trainers Sarah Bernard and Shawn Francis both say they've set out to lead online fitness classes that anyone can tackle, from anywhere. 

"Staying active and trying to stay positive during this chaos is hard enough," said Bernard. "I wanted to provide very laid-back and completely free online workouts that you could do anywhere and at any time with no equipment."

Bernard said she's streaming live classes, every evening at 7 p.m. on her Facebook page.

Francis said he's posting regular videos to his Instagram account @frantrainfitness, and to his Facebook page.

"Take advantage of this time to educate yourself, or your family and children, on the importance of moving your body," said Francis. "Have your household join in with you."

5. Get outside!

Of course, it's hard to beat a good old fashioned walk or run in the outdoors to clear your mind and get your heart pumping. And the good news?  Even those self-isolating are still clear to get a little fresh air, with some conditions.   

"Absolutely you can go outside for a walk, but not for a walk in the mall with a bunch of other people," said Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer.

"Stay away from other people, in environments where you could potentially put someone else at risk."

The bottom line is you can stay active. Just stay away from others in the process. 

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.


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