June 17, 2020
The University of Washington typically offers a broad schedule of health and fitness classes for the community. But with COVID-19 prompting closures of campuses and work spaces, gyms like the IMA Building also found themselves empty with in-person activities canceled.
“I knew we had to do something,” said Jeff Palmer, fitness manager for UW Recreation. “I wanted to make sure everyone was getting an awesome, fun workout.”
Now, Palmer is teaching several virtual classes a week, part of UW Recreation’s effort to make its activities accessible while people are physically distancing during the pandemic.
Danny Arguetty, UW Recreation’s mindfulness manager, also shifted from training new instructors to teaching virtual classes on meditation and yoga. Zumba instructor Karen Cornelio is leading free dance exercise classes in addition to other fitness and mindfulness sessions offered by The Whole U, an group that promotes wellness within the UW community.
They say that in addition to the positive benefits of exercise, the live virtual classes have helped participants create some structure and community in their lives.
“People are really craving that, at a time when things are out of control,” Palmer said. He said he’s also found a new audience of people who already felt uncomfortable going to gyms or who needed to be home anyway.
If you are not able to join a live class, many are archived in this YouTube library. The videos are open to the public, so anyone can view them.
“Virtual programming has just really, really taken off. We’re definitely going to continue virtual training even when we return to the IMA,” Palmer said.
Tag(s): COVID-19 • Danny Arguetty • Jeff Palmer • Karen Cornelio • The Whole U • UW Recreation