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Online fitness classes a hit, tops survey of 2021 workout trends

Staying active with fitness centers and gyms closed can be challenging, but online fitness classes are becoming a popular alternative, and it’s a trend that could continue.

For Brockville, Ont. Fitness trainer Jenny Stots beats the winter blues by offering free online workout classes.

“It gets us moving, keeps our daily activities running and helps us all live a little more,” Stots told CTV News Ottawa from her downtown apartment.

While in and out of the gym at her Brockville YMCA office due to the pandemic, she told herself she would get through this latest lockdown by unlocking her phone.

“I was going to get off work, I decided I needed something to motivate myself and to keep some of my friends and family motivated,” Stots said. “So I decided to take this time to start doing some things online and sort of connect.”

Jenny Stots

She has been giving daily challenges, and different 30-45 minute workouts through her Facebook group five days a week.

“We have some total-body workouts, some low-impact classes and some circuit-style workouts, and hitting exercises that are just a little higher in intensity,” Stotts said, and we gained nearly 100 followers in just the first week.

“It was really cool, really inspiring to me because I saw them join my daily challenges and then post and people comment on each other’s posts and motivate each other,” she added.

People like North End resident Debbie Ridgers join Stotts’ classes from a small space in her basement.

“I’ve been doing gentle body toning and of course Zumba and yoga,” said Ridgers. “It definitely makes me happier, it makes me more able to focus, and have a routine and structure in my life.”

Debbie Ridgers

According to the 2021 Global Fitness Trends Survey, online training participation is now number one, with wearable technology, and bodyweight training among the top three.

“The internet is great because you can do it from the comfort of your own home and you can do it at your own convenience,” Stots said.

“The internet provides an option for those who can’t get to the gym at the same times, or, you know, reduced hours, and things like that,” she added. “It may be more difficult to get to the gym.”

Both Stots and Ridgers agree, by working at home, you’re missing out on an important part of the class.

“I love the social aspect of it,” said Ridgers. “I think what I will eventually do is I will physically return to the classroom, but when I can’t, I will definitely embrace the privilege of being able to take her lessons online.”

With Blue Monday also approaching next week, known to be the darkest day of the year, being active can improve your mental health too.

“It’s one of the toughest days for a lot of people, so I just encourage you to dance, do yoga or whatever makes you feel good,” Stots said. “Personally, I find that physical activity is a huge part of my mental health, so I know the lockdowns have been very difficult for me.”

“I feel that fitness definitely affects my mental health,” Ridgers added. “I love yoga. I never thought yoga would become such an important part of my life. It taught me to relax more, be more in the moment, breathe and deal with any anxiety issues I had about my family, my friends, COVID in general.”

“There are a lot of people who start making decisions in January,” Stots added. “Of course, with this shutdown, it was a little more difficult, but getting this online gives you that option to keep getting started until we can establish a routine.”

For anyone interested in joining Stotts’ online classes, her Facebook group is called Fitness with Jenni.

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