I know several Greenbelters who dearly miss not just their regular exercise class, but the fun and connection of doing it with friends. Or if not friends, at least the regular bunch they see every Tuesday or whatever. Seniors especially are the most isolated AND medically vulnerable, so have the greatest need for online fitness and socializing opportunities. (For example, Greenbelt’s large Golden Age Club, which normally meets in person every Wednesday, has been completely shut down since mid-March. Zoom get-togethers starting in September have been promised.)
So I’ve asked around and it turns out there ARE ways to exercise online with other Greenbelters – even now. Here’s what I’ve learned from Greenbelt’s teachers and students, which is accurate as of today.
How to Use Zoom or Webex
Most live online classes are done over Zoom, which thankfully is VERY easy to use. Here are two good how-to sources – Seniors Guide and AARP.. Holy Cross uses Webex Meetings for their Senior Fit classes – here’s a good intro video.
With both programs, participants in “live” classes have the option of turning off the “video” on their computers (which means turning off the camera) so that they’re not seen while exercising. (I do this myself.) If following recorded classes, no one can see you, anyway.
Greenbelt Recreation Department
Laura Bonkosky Teaches Yoga
After taking the summer off, Laura is offering two classes in the fall via Zoom. All classes meet live via Zoom. For registration information and class fees, please see the Fall 2020 Recreation Brochure. Classes run the week of 9/8- 10/26, and begin again the week of 11/1 through 12/13.
Wanda Pearson Teaches Zumba Gold
Wanda Pearson teaches Zumba Gold, a variety of Zumba I only recently discovered and took to immediately when I tried it online. It’s low-impact but energetic and fun, especially with a great teacher, and Wanda has her fans!
Also available through Greenbelt Recreation are classes in Mixed Pilates and Tai Chi.
Bee Yoga with Gretchen Schock
I wrote to Gretchen Schock about opportunities for Greenbelters to exercise AND connect, and she responded that “The beautiful thing about Bee Yoga Fusion is that it’s not just a yoga class, it truly is about belonging to the community. Before every zoom class, we have the opportunity for folks to chat and check-in with the instructors and with each other Just as you would do in real life prior to COVID. Bee Yoga Fusion classes were always starting with laughter and chit chat. 🙂
Christine has taught yoga at the Greenbelt Rec Center for the PG Community College SAGE program for 14 years and many of her Greenbelt students have followed her online. “When the lockdown began, and economic uncertainty and anxiety soared, some teachers at our non-profit yoga center began offering classes via Zoom for no charge. Many invited students from other venues to join in. This is how a couple dozen Greenbelt seniors began attending St. Mark’s Yoga Center classes online. (Christine has been director of St. Mark’s Yoga Center since it opened in the historic Church on Capitol Hill in 1978.)
“Through August, we’re continuing to offer our yoga classes and Sunday Yoga Nidra free. Some dedicated students continue to buy passes and dutifully mark themselves off. Others make donations when they can. As we settle into the new normal—and it looks like it will remain this way well into 2021—a contribution of whatever a student can afford will be required each month to log in to classes starting in September.” Learn more about St. Mark’s Yoga Center here.
Christine teaches Thursday 5:30 – 6:30 pmChristine: Integral/Accessible Yoga practice. Chair or mat practice, plus breath work and meditation.
Join URL: https://zoom.us/j/716663333
Meeting ID: 716-663-333.
Additional classes with Christine: Saturday The Lockwood Integral Yoga Hatha 10-11am EDT. Register here. PW: contact Christine for password.
Holy Cross Senior Fit
Pre-COVID, a popular class in Greenbelt every Monday through Friday was the Senior Fit program from Holy Cross Hospital as part of the SAGE offerings for seniors. The classes, still 10:00 to 10:45 a.m., are now online and FREE. To register you just need to email instructor Nancy Shaffer (email@example.com) so that she’ll send you a waiver for you to sign electronically and email back to her. Then Nancy (above) will send you the link to joint the class (via WebEx, a very similar program to Zoom).
Greenbelter Judy Parker “attends” and tells me the class (of 15-20) includes several other Greenbelters and some seniors from Bowie, too. The class has opportunities before and after class to briefly check in.
Jazzercise in Bowie
In-Person OUTDOOR Class
An in-person outdoor fitness class apparently sprang forth organically, after Derrick Faison’s “Fit and Fun” class at the Greenbelt Community Center was shut down in March. It’s a real workout – cardio, kickboxing and weights. One attendee was Aileen Kroll, who asked Derrick to continue teaching in her back yard – just 4-5 people more than socially distanced, and he agreed. The class later moved to a larger outdoor space nearby – the scene above – to ensure maximum distancing. It’s held at 7:30 a.m. two-three times a week, on a pay-what-you-can basis.
Contact Aileen if you’re interested in joining the group: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Online Fitness Classes Recommended by Greenbelters
Kim Root’s The Rooted Center
Pre-COVID, Kim Root had a long-standing studio in Beltsville, where a friend of mine had been a regular for years. Since the lockdown Kim has been teaching online from this lovely room on Cape Cod and my friend convinced me to give it a try. I’ve now taken many of Kim’s classes and am a huge fan.
Prices range from $10 per live online class (via Zoom) to just $10/month for unlimited recorded 1-hour classes! The collection of recorded classes continues to grow and many are described as targeting specific parts of the body.
I happened to hear an interview on NPR with the CEO of Zumba, the fitness brand now in 180 countries, and was impressed to hear how they’d responded to the pandemic – by creating great online offerings. Teachers receive 100 percent of students’ fees for the duration of the lockdown.
I choose “English” from the search options and then Zumba Gold or Zumba Gold-Toning from the types of classes offered. I’d tried regular Zumba years ago and found it too hard on my knees but these Gold versions are perfect!. Though I imagine it’s far more fun with a roomful of other students and I look forward to dancing with Wanda Pearson and her fans in Greenbelt’s Community Center someday .
Class fees range from $0-$5. I’ve been trying a different teacher every time and have concluded that it’s worth ponying up the money for the best teachers – $3-5 is still such a bargain.
Classes are either live or “on demand,” which doesn’t mean they can be watched just anytime. Rather, “on demand” means the recorded class can be viewed anytime during the 24 hours after its “start” time.
NOTE: By contributing these pandemic stories, photos, et cetera, Greenbelters are making an unconditional donation of the material to the nonprofit Greenbelt Online.org and the Greenbelt Museum/City of Greenbelt, which reserve the right to keep, lend, or otherwise dispose of the donated material, and may use the material on our website, for social media or other postings, in promotional materials or in future exhibits.