Making it Work for Your Workout For those who have found it difficult to exercise during COVID-19, Caroline Quinn explores alternatives to the classic trip to the gym

Last spring, with the rise of COVID-19 came the shutdown of virtually everything. Students were trapped in their homes with nothing to do but Zoom online classes and give in to the never-ending temptation of the kitchen pantry. To make matters worse, gyms and fitness studios closed down, leaving people with one less way to let off steam. Now back on campus, students are figuring out the best ways to get in their workout with the current restrictions in place.

While stuck at home, those craving a workout quickly learned that their only solution was to get creative. Supplies such as workout mats, resistance bands and dumbbells make at-home workouts more versatile. 

“During the stricter quarantine, I would do a lot of at-home virtual workouts, including YouTube videos, zoom yoga sculpt, or run around my neighborhood,” said Jennie Verhey, MCAS ’23.

Whether students took walks or jogs around their neighborhood or had an at-home gym, they learned how to keep their health and fitness in check without the usual resources at their disposal.

“My family went on lots of hikes once the weather got nice, and I would go for walks with my friends,” Katie Duttenhofer, MCAS ’23.

Popular studios also adapted and created at-home programs. Barry’s Bootcamp, for example, created a virtual red room program where people could tune in from home and do a live class. Many also took advantage of social media to advertise their programs. Chloe Ting’s two-week ab workout went viral on TikTok, and other fitness programs and challenges gave people something to do in their never-ending spare time. 

“Sometimes I would work out more than once a day just because I had nothing else to do once classes ended last spring,” Duttenhofer said. 

YouTube’s endless supply of workout videos also came in handy. With a wide variety of workout lengths and types, switching up one’s workouts was simple: One day it could be a high-intensity interval workout, and the next it could be a quick 15-minute yoga and stretch

The Margot Connell Recreation Center has understandably implemented stricter conditions this semester, now requiring appointments to enter. Those who do utilize the gym must schedule their appointment before it reaches the 150-person capacity and plan their workouts to fit within the allotted 90-minute period. Many have chosen to bring their at-home regimens to campus, choosing to run around the Reservoir or watch videos in their dorm.  

“I never ran before March, and now I run the Res everyday, so I definitely think that was a positive habit that came out of quarantine and is so convenient to do here,” Verhey said. 

The freshmen on Newton Campus have had a hard time going to the gym after the school decided not to open up the Quonset Hut, the recreation center on Newton. 

“Having no gym on Newton Campus is definitely a challenge, and having to take the shuttle to main campus or lower is very annoying,” said Ryan Coughlin, CSOM ’24. 

It’s clear that students have adapted in many ways to the new realities of COVID-19, and they have learned how to keep their life balanced in creative and effective ways. As the year unfolds, it’s becoming apparent that things aren’t going back to normal anytime soon. With the rec center practicing social distancing regulations, and outdoor workout classes having to adapt to the colder weather, BC students have shown that they aren’t afraid to get creative about their fitness routine.

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About Caroline Quinn