When the official "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order took effect, it closed down all gyms and discouraged large gatherings. Which, of course, meant group exercise classes were out of the question. Or were they? With a little creativity and passion for helping Spartans stay active, the MSU Recreational Sports Team has created a variety of virtual group exercise opportunities.
The trained instructors who usually host classes on campus during a traditional school year have now committed to hosting Zoom exercise classes multiple times throughout the day. From indoor cycling lunch rides to cardio dance and kickboxing in the evening, there are a plethora of activities to choose from, all available in real-time.
Residence Education and Housing Services Neighborhood Administrative Coordinator and MSU Yoga Instructor Sara Olsztyn explained what to expect when entering a Zoom class. For starters, she mentioned they cater classes to all levels of experience –– you don't have to be a master to participate.
"What I like about the online class for students is that if they were ever wary about trying yoga, Zumba or spin, they can try it in the privacy of their home and see if they like it," said Olsztyn. "With the Zoom classes, there is also the option to not use your camera, so no one can see you. That's a plus if you are a little shy about working out in front of a crowd."
Despite the ingenuity of the Zoom classes, Olsztyn says that she still misses getting to work in-person with the students.
"What's hard for me as an instructor is that I want to see my students and make sure their alignment is good and that they are getting in and out of poses safely," said Olsztyn. "Then, if there is something the class is struggling with, I can adjust what I am doing. That part is hard for me, but I just make it very clear at the start to do what feels good for you and to not push yourself. Yoga is not a competition!"
Olsztyn also said that doing a Zoom class hosted by the university is different than just finding workout videos to watch online.
"It's great that so many online fitness places are offering up free classes, but there is still something about being with your people in class, that makes our MSU Zoom classes a little more special," said Olsztyn. "We have a connection to the participants, and it's great for us and them to 'see' the regulars in class."